We performed a hospital-based case-control study of African-American mothers to explore the relation between a mother's perception of her own residential environment and very low birthweight. We administered a structured questionnaire to mothers of very-low-birthweight (<1,500 gm; N = 28) and critically ill non-low-birthweight (>2,500 gm; N = 52) infants. The groups had similar sociodemographic characteristics. The vast majority of participants were unmarried and had no private medical insurance. The odds ratios of very low birthweight fluctuated between 1.7 and 3.2 for African- American mothers who rated their neighborhoods (in terms of police protection, protection of property, personal safety, friendliness, delivery of municipal services, cleanliness, quietness, and schools) unfavorably. Additionally, the odds ratio of very low birthweight for mothers exposed to three or more stressful life events during pregnancy was 3.1 (95% confidence interval = 1.2-8.2). We conclude that African. American mothers' perception of their residential environment and frequency of stressful life events are associated with very low birthweight in their infants.
- Case-control study
- Ethnic background
- Stressful life events
- Very- low-birthweight infants
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