Explaining fasting during Ramadan in pregnant women

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Summary

Ajzen’s theory of reasoned action (TRA) and theory of planned behavior (TPB): 

Presenters: Farah Latif and Sarah Gonzalez

Farah Latif, George Mason University
Sarah Gonzalez, Saint Louis University

This study proposes that in collectivistic cultures where cultural and religious practices often juxtapose, healthcare campaigns may have to use untraditional methods in health campaigns to correct risky behaviors. This study explores the deleterious effects of “accelerated starvation,” which takes place when a fetus experiences extended periods of restricted nutrition.

Abstract

Ajzen’s theory of reasoned action (TRA) and theory of planned behavior (TPB): Explaining fasting during Ramadan in pregnant women

This study proposes that in collectivistic cultures where cultural and religious practices often juxtapose, healthcare campaigns may have to use untraditional methods in health campaigns to correct risky behaviors. This study explores the deleterious effects of “accelerated starvation,” which takes place when a fetus experiences extended periods of restricted nutrition (Metzger, Ravnikas, Vileisis, & Norbert, 1982). In many countries with majority Muslim population, women often fast during the month of Ramadan for up to 30 days, placing fetuses under a risk of preterm labor, low child birth-weight, and overall diminished cognitive and physical development during pre-school years (Almond & Mzumder, 2011; Ewijk, 2011) and other health conditions that may manifest later in life. Moreover, researchers also predict economic and social costs to the society when fetal health is jeopardized. The authors contend that in non-Western cultures, cultural values (collectivistic) and self-construals (interdependence), construct widely different social norms than the Western culture’s individualistic values and independent selfconstruals (Uleman, Lee, & Roman, 1995). Therefore, Ajzen’s theory of reasoned action (TRA) and theory of planned behavior (TPB) may be modified for collectivistic cultures to predict the behavioral change and maintenance of behavior, where both are influenced by descriptive norms (perception of what other are doing). The authors use the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) to explain that in a case such as the maternal fasting in Ramadan (MFR), individuals may have high motivation to conform to descriptive norms and thus, may use superficial processing mode to change long term behaviors. The authors recommend that researchers and healthcare providers in collectivistic diaspora communities can prevent MFR and other risky behaviors when they can identify practices that are culturally encouraged and may be harmful to these individuals.

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