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Title: Beyond Orphanhood: Family Structure and Child Health in Tanzania
Authors: Gaydosh, Lauren Michele
Advisors: McLanahan, Sara
Contributors: Sociology Department
Keywords: demography
Subjects: Sociology
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Children in Tanzania commonly live apart from their parents for a variety of reasons. Yet we know surprisingly little about this consequential social arrangement and its impact on children’s health. Existing studies, while illuminating, focus almost exclusively on the phenomenon of AIDS orphanhood. Furthermore, the research tends to focus on the negative consequences of particular family structures resulting from specific causes of parental absence. This project improves upon the existing scholarship by broadening our view of the family and parental absence through an examination of multiple causes of absence beyond orphanhood. This dissertation project draws on quantitative, longitudinal data and original qualitative in-depth interview data collected in the Rufiji Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS) in Tanzania to examine the causes and consequences of parental absence. This dissertation is divided into three empirical chapters. The first chapter uses demographic data to estimate children’s risk of experiencing parental absence by cause and examine predictors of this risk. Using the same longitudinal data, the second chapter examines the consequences of parental absence for child mortality. The third and final empirical chapter relies on original qualitative interview data to investigate ideal childrearing arrangements and strategies employed to approximate this ideal when it is unattainable. As families in Tanzania respond to a constellation of contemporary demographic, social and cultural changes, it is important to understand the implications of such changes for children’s living arrangements and health. The results are relevant not only for this particular geographic locale, but for scholars and policymakers in other countries interested in improving children’s welfare in the face of social and demographic changes that challenge traditional family forms.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Sociology

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