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Keywords:

  • racism;
  • low birth weight;
  • instrument development and validation

Racism may be a factor in low-birth-weight (LBW) and preterm delivery in African American chiidbearing women. Because no satisfactory measure of racism existed, the Perception of Racism Scale (PRS) was developed. The PRS was pilot tested on 109 participants from churches and community organizations. The scale was then used in a study of 136 chiidbearing women to investigate LBW and preterm delivery. Twenty items rated on a 4-point Likert-type scale were scored with 1 as the lowest and 4 as the highest perception of racism. Alpha reliabilities were .88 for the pilot and .91 for the study. Content validity was strengthened by expert panel critique. Reliability, content validity, and construct validity were demonstrated and no undue participant burden was observed. The scale is an effective instrument to measure perceptions of racism by African American women.