The Influence of Maternal Health Literacy and Child's Age on Participation in Social Welfare Programs

Susmita Pati, Elizabeth Siewert, Angie T. Wong, Suraj K. Bhatt, Rose E. Calixte, Avital Cnaan
2013 Maternal and Child Health Journal  
Objective-To determine the influence of maternal health literacy and child's age on participation in social welfare programs benefiting children. Methods-In a longitudinal prospective cohort study of 560 Medicaid-eligible mother-infant dyads recruited in Philadelphia, maternal health literacy was assessed using the Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults (short version). Participation in social welfare programs (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families [TANF], Supplemental Nutrition
more » ... e Program [SNAP], Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children [WIC], child care subsidy, and public housing) was self-reported at child's birth, and at the 6, 12, 18, 24 month follow-up interviews. Generalized estimating equations quantified the strength of maternal health literacy as an estimator of program participation. Results-The mothers were primarily African-Americans (83%), single (87%), with multiple children (62%). Nearly 24% of the mothers had inadequate or marginal health literacy. Children whose mothers had inadequate health literacy were less likely to receive child care subsidy (adjusted OR= 0.54, 95% CI: 0.34-0.85) than children whose mothers had adequate health literacy. Health literacy was not a significant predictor for TANF, SNAP, WIC or housing assistance. The predicted probability for participation in all programs decreased from birth to 24 months. Most notably, predicted WIC participation declined rapidly after age one.
doi:10.1007/s10995-013-1348-0 pmid:23990157 pmcid:PMC3938979 fatcat:kxlg3vlrhncqzj57zan57yqaem