The association of beliefs about heredity with preventive and interpersonal behaviors in communities affected by podoconiosis in rural Ethiopia

Ayode, Desta, McBride, Colleen M, de Heer, Hendrik, Watanbe, Emi, Gebreyesus, Tsega, Tadele, Getnet, Tora, Abebayehu and Davey, Gail (2012) The association of beliefs about heredity with preventive and interpersonal behaviors in communities affected by podoconiosis in rural Ethiopia. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 87 (4). pp. 623-630. ISSN 0002-9637

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Abstract

Little is known about how beliefs about heredity as a cause of health conditions might influence preventive and interpersonal behaviors among those individuals with low genetic and health literacy. We explored causal beliefs about podoconiosis, a neglected tropical disease (NTD) endemic in Ethiopia. Podoconiosis clusters in families but can be prevented if individuals at genetically high risk wear shoes consistently. Adults (N = 242) from four rural Ethiopian communities participated in qualitative assessments of beliefs about the causes of podoconiosis. Heredity was commonly mentioned, with heredity being perceived as (1) the sole cause of podoconiosis, (2) not a causal factor, or (3) one of multiple causes. These beliefs influenced the perceived controllability of podoconiosis and in turn, whether individuals endorsed preventive and interpersonal stigmatizing behaviors. Culturally informed education programs that increase the perceived controllability of stigmatized hereditary health conditions like podoconiosis have promise for increasing preventive behaviors and reducing interpersonal stigma.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Global Health and Infection
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Depositing User: Gail Davey
Date Deposited: 02 May 2013 11:39
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2017 14:14
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/44609

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