Perceived Social Networks and Newborn Health: Evidence from Self-Help Group Communities in Northern India

Jenny Ruducha, Xinran Huang, James Potter, Divya Hariharan, Danish Ahmad, Sampath Kumar, P. S. Mohanan, Avishek Hazra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
26 Downloads (Pure)


The limitations of individual level interventions in changing behaviors to improve global maternal, newborn and child health have generated more interest in the patterns of social influence and decision making embedded in families, friends and communities. The purpose of this study is to expand the understanding of village dynamics in India and how first degree social and advice networks and cognitive perceptions of 185 recently delivered women (RDW) in areas with and without women's Self-Help Groups (SHGs) affect immediate breastfeeding. Data was collected in 6 blocks and 36 villages in Uttar Pradesh, India. The expansion of RDW's social worlds and creation of social capital through the organization of Self-Help Groups in their villages allowed us to examine basic relationships and advice formation as well as perceptions of interconnectedness of known groups. RDW living in SHG villages and blocks had consistently higher numbers of relationship ties, health advice ties and higher density of health advice networks than RDW living in the non-SHG areas. RDW's perceived knowing ties were also significantly higher between family and health workers in the SHG areas with related higher immediate breastfeeding rates. These results suggest that SHGs can accelerate community social capital and promote more accountability in the health system to engage with families and support the change from traditional to more evidence-based health practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sept 2018
Externally publishedYes


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