Health behaviors over the life cycle among mothers and daughters from Ethiopia.

Sheryl Mendlinger, Julie Cwikel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


[Traditionally, the older females in an extended family, including mother, aunts, sisters or grandmother, instructed young women about the various aspects of the life cycle, including puberty, menstruation, sex, reproduction and child care. In Israel, the immigration process has changed social relationships and family structures, which in turn shape the intergenerational transfers of knowledge. As a result, over the past few decades other sources of knowledge have become important influences in producing knowledge for young women. These include their peers, school, scientific information, doctors and commercial products. This paper examines how Ethiopian mothers after immigration to Israel pass health-related information to their daughters in relation to puberty, menstruation, childbirth and breast-feeding, as well as behaviors that are important for health maintenance and promotion: nutrition, smoking and exercise. Using qualitative interviews of three mother-daughter pairs and six additional women informants, the paper examines how women's health behaviors changed as young women adapted to Israeli norms while retaining their respect and understanding of the views of their mothers' generation toward health and health promotion. Two sets of values interacted to influence health behavior: cultural values including religious traditions; and perceptions of the health-related value of the behavior, which were tempered by personal or vicarious experiences.]
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-94
StatePublished - 2006


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