Examining pathways between maternal childhood circumstances and self-reported pregnancy related stress among primiparous women
Mendel, Whitney E.
MetadataShow full item record
Despite growing acceptance of impact of early life circumstances upon pregnancy related stress and birth outcomes, especially among those living in poverty, there is a dearth of research examining the facets of childhood well-being that prove most salient in such distal health outcomes which hampers prevention and intervention efforts. This study articulated components of childhood well-being and proposed multiple mediated pathways connecting childhood circumstances, adult physical and mental health, adult socioeconomic status, and pregnancy related stress in an effort to fill such a gap in knowledge and to inform clinical and policy interventions. Using a retrospective, mixed-methods design, a sample of 99 primiparous (first time mothers) women were interviewed regarding their childhood experiences of parental bonding, socioeconomic stability within the home, health, adverse events, and perceptions of social status, as well as their experiences of adult health, mental health, health behaviors, and socioeconomic status. Women were also queried about their experiences of pregnancy related stress and health outcomes of their infant. Results of a series of mediated pathways suggest that parental bonding and socioeconomic circumstances in childhood indirectly affect adult educational attainment and pregnancy related stress thru experiences of childhood health and adverse childhood events. The findings of this study call for clinical and policy efforts in assisting parents of young children, bolstering support or parental bonding and socioeconomic stability through advocacy, legislation, and primary prevention programs.