Date of Award

January 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Ashley Hagaman


Background: There is a lack of data on response behaviors among young mothers in low- and middle-income countries. Emerging passive sensing technology has been increasingly allowing researchers to collect this type of day-to-day behavioral data.

Methods: We administered PHQ-9 depression surveys and the Observation of Maternal-Child Interaction (OMCI) measure to young mothers between the ages of 15-25 in the Chitwan region of Nepal, and conducted key informant interviews with all mothers selected for participation.

Results: Among 54 mother-infant dyads, we found that there was no statistically significant correlation between maternal responsiveness and proximity. When we stratified participant groups by depression status, there we found that mothers without depression were no more or less likely to have a relationship between proximity and maternal responsiveness.

Conclusion: Overall, our analysis presents a unique approach to understanding the relationship between responsivity, proximity, and maternal mental health, and explores how using passive sensing technologies can help us better understand the response behaviors among populations in low- and middle-income countries.

Keywords: Nepal, young motherhood, young mothers, maternal health, proximity, maternal responsiveness, maternal interaction, maternal-infant interaction, parental interaction, mental health, depression, passive sensing technology, digital Bluetooth sensors, social and behavioral sciences


This thesis is restricted to Yale network users only. It will be made publicly available on 05/19/2024