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Psicologia: Reflexão e Crítica

Print version ISSN 0102-7972On-line version ISSN 1678-7153


OLIVEIRA, Maria Luiza Silva  and  BASTOS, Ana Cecília de Sousa. Health care practices in family context: a comparative case study. Psicol. Reflex. Crit. [online]. 2000, vol.13, n.1, pp.97-107. ISSN 1678-7153.

This paper examined everyday health care practices focusing on families with different structures and socioeconomic status, following an ethnographical study with ten low-income families and six middle-income families. Four families (single-mother versus new marital arrangement) were selected to the present analysis. The comparative analysis described the resources and strategies utilized and the social network available for each pair of families. The results suggested that, in all families, the mother is the most important caretaker when it comes to health problems. The expression institutionalized helplessness was employed to describe the insufficient resources available to poor families. The middle-income families showed consistently more preventive behaviors. The overworked single-mothers were characterized at the same time as caretakers and providers. This characteristic is presented as a risk to the family. The results were helped the understanding of mechanisms of risk-protection to health and to health promotion in family context.

Keywords : Family; health care practices; risk; protection.

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