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Relationships among Neighborhood Environment, Racial Discrimination, Psychological Distress, and Preterm Birth in African American Women

Authors


  • The authors report no conflict of interest or relevant financial relationships.

Correspondence

Carmen Giurgescu, PhD, RN, WHNP, College of Nursing, University of Illinois at Chicago, 845 S. Damen m/c 802, Chicago, IL 60612. carmeng7@uic.edu

ABSTRACT

Objectives

To (a) examine the relationships among objective and perceived indicators of neighborhood environment, racial discrimination, psychological distress, and gestational age at birth; (b) determine if neighborhood environment and racial discrimination predicted psychological distress; (c) determine if neighborhood environment, racial discrimination, and psychological distress predicted preterm birth; and (d) determine if psychological distress mediated the effects of neighborhood environment and racial discrimination on preterm birth.

Design

Descriptive correlational comparative.

Setting

Postpartum unit of a medical center in Chicago.

Participants

African American women (n1 = 33 with preterm birth; n2 = 39 with full-term birth).

Methods

Women completed the instruments 24 to 72 hours after birth. Objective measures of the neighborhood were derived using geographic information systems (GIS).

Results

Women who reported higher levels of perceived social and physical disorder and perceived crime also reported higher levels of psychological distress. Women who reported more experiences of racial discrimination also had higher levels of psychological distress. Objective social disorder and perceived crime predicted psychological distress. Objective physical disorder and psychological distress predicted preterm birth. Psychological distress mediated the effect of objective social disorder and perceived crime on preterm birth.

Conclusion

Women's neighborhood environments and racial discrimination were related to psychological distress, and these factors may increase the risk for preterm birth.

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