Infant mortality and mother’s religious involvement in Brazil

Ana Paula A. Verona, University of Texas at Austin

Although several variables have been recognized as determinants of infant mortality in Brazil, almost no attention has been given to the implications of religion involvement for this phenomenon. This paper helps to fill this gap employing data from the 1996 Brazil Demographic Health Survey (DHS) and a Cox proportional hazards model to examine the potential association between infant morality and mother’s religious attendance. Unadjusted results show that differences in the hazard ratios of infant mortality by mother’s religious attendance are large in magnitude and statistically significant. When controlling for demographic and socioeconomic variables, the baseline relationship is reduced, but mother’s religious attendance is still associated with the risk of infant mortality. However, results also show that the pattern of the relationship between religious attendance and infant mortality is unclear. This study suggests the notion of mixed effects of religious participation on individual behavior as a potential explanation for this pattern.

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Presented in Poster Session 5: Contexts