Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology

Subject Categories



College of Liberal Arts


Behavioral Sciences

Thesis Adviser

Melvin A. Jabar

Defense Panel Chair

Diana Therese M. Veloso

Defense Panel Member

Dennis S. Erasga
Myla M. Arcinas
Crisanto Q. Regadio, Jr.
Anderson Villa


The various health-seeking behaviors of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are products of the dynamic interactions between social factors and individual agency. However, knowledge about migrant workers’ health particularly those working in the informal sector is limited to individual characteristics and devoid of the social context. This dissertation examines health-seeking issues from a twofold framework: Social Capital Theory and Theory of Planned Behavior, and specifically focuses on the domestic workers whose social capital is nuanced by cultural differences and inadequate health care systemsin their host country. The study analyzes the influence of various sources of social capital on the health-seeking behaviors of domestic workers and tests how their personal beliefs mediate this relationship. It also examines the influence of health-seeking behaviors on their self-report health outcomes in physical, emotional, and social functions

The study involved 307 survey respondents who are working in Singapore during the period of the survey. Findings reveal that over-all, the domestic workers have an adequate amount of trust, emotional support, and provision of tangible resources from the workplace, institution, family, and ethnic sources of social capital. The workplace, however, yielded the highest level and ethnic has the lowest. Result also indicates that they consult a medical doctor during serious illness but would confide with a non-medical practitioner, self-medicate, and ignore mild illnesses. Findings also show that domestic helpers are generally healthy based on their self-report physical, emotional, and social functioning. They believe that consultation with a medical doctor would help them address their health concerns. This study concludes that workplace, family, institution, and ethnic social capital are the immediate social context of domestic helpers that influence their health-seeking behaviors. The workplace is the most crucial in shaping the behavior of consulting a medical doctor. Moreover, the ethnic social capital stood out as the most dominant in influencing health-seeking behavior towards consulting non-medical practitioners, selfmedication, and ignoring sickness. Personal belief affects health-seeking behaviors specifically the consultation with medical doctors and it can fully mediate the relationships between workplace social capital and the behavior of consulting the doctor. Lastly, personal belief has a partial mediation in the relationship between ethnic social capital and health-seeking behaviors specifically consulting nonmedical doctors, self-medication, and ignoring illnesses. In summary, the findings suggest surveying a larger population including other types of work particularly the distressed OFWs and examine how they mobilize the sources of social capital.

Abstract Format






Physical Description

200 leaves


Filipinos--Employment--Foreign countries; Health behavior

Upload Full Text


Embargo Period