Pneumonia ranks first in health problems demanding attention, and second in the cause of mortality for children under five years old in Peru (Toledo, & Minaya, 1999). Studies about behavioral determinants that influence mothers to seek medical help for their child with signs of pneumonia do not focus on the contribution of the behavioral determinants to intention of seeking medical help.

Using the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) and a cross-sectional design, the objectives of this study were to know first, Peruvian mothers' perceptions about knowledge and recognition of pneumonia, and about the government pneumonia campaign (GPC). Second, mothers' attitudes, norms, and control perceptions that influence intention of seeking medical help. 501 mothers were selected randomly from the Asentamientos Humanos (AH) of Lima and were interviewed in June and July 2000. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics, factor analysis, and a linear regression model. Path analysis was used to identify predictors of intention.

Most mothers believed that pneumonia was dangerous. 58.7% indicated that pneumonia was caused by lack of parental care. Only 28.9% believed that a virus causes pneumonia. More than 80% correctly picked rapid breathing and/or chest retraction from a list of possible signs and symptoms aimed to recognize pneumonia, and 94.6% said they were ready to take their child to the closest health center if they thought their child had pneumonia. Although 57.1% said they had heard about the GPC, only 61 mothers were capable of recalling the motto in some way.

Mothers' response to intention items show that they definitely intend to take their children to the closest health center. Although 37.4% would feel nervous 30% would feel calm. 54% tend to feel very much pressured to seeking medical help by important referents. They feel self-confident; however, they do not have enough money.

Of the mothers interviewed 16.4% were not aware of pneumonia and its possible consequences. Most of them said they could recognize pneumonia through the signs promoted by the GPC. Subjective norm was the best predictor of intention.

These results suggest that the GPC should highlight social pressure to encourage mothers to seek medical help.


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Naomi Modeste

Second Advisor

Hector Betancourt

Third Advisor

Jerry W. Lee

Fourth Advisor

Robert Wilkins

Degree Name

Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Pneumonia -- diagnosis; Pneumonia -- epidemiology -- Peru; Health Behavior -- Peru; Attitude to Health -- Peru.



Page Count

xiii; 154

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives