In this article we build a decision model to predict how Mexican women treat childhood diarrhea. From ethnographic interviewing, we found that women's beliefs about types and causes of diarrhea, and women's perceptions about different treatments do not uniformly affect behavior. Some beliefs appear to affect treatment choices but others have no noticeable consequences. We also found that beliefs about diarrhea and its treatment varied among community members. Despite this intracultural variation, we built a decision-making model that predicts 84% of an independent sample of reported treatments. The model uses 11 rules. The research has implications for medical anthropology, research methods, and medical intervention strategies.

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