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Perceived neighborhood stressors among women enrolled in the Allegheny County Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program in Allegheny County, PA

James, Keyonie (2014) Perceived neighborhood stressors among women enrolled in the Allegheny County Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program in Allegheny County, PA. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Objective: Neighborhood environment has been linked to psychosocial stress and preterm birth and low birth weight among African American women. Preterm birth and low birth weight are the second leading causes of infant death in the U.S., and they account for the excessive black-white gap in infant mortality in the U.S. The purpose of this thesis was to explore women’s perceptions of their neighborhood and the impact of neighborhood environment on their pregnancy and health.
Methods: This study used a qualitative design with semi-structured in-depth interviews. Objective indicators of crime, poverty, education and housing were collected on the neighborhoods women resided in to complement the qualitative data. A purposive sample of four multiparous postpartum women ranging in age from 25-40 was enrolled in the study recruited from the Allegheny County Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. The women were inhabitants of four different neighborhoods in Allegheny County: Arlington, Greenfield, Homewood West and Spring Hill.
Results: Thematic content analysis revealed six themes. Women’s perception of crime and violence in their neighborhood was consistent with the objective indicators for crime in their neighborhood. Women felt that crime and violence in their neighborhood increased stress during their pregnancy, and they reported being exposed to crime and violence in neighborhoods they lived in previously. Parenting at a younger age and being pregnant at an older age were also perceived stressors in women’s lives. The results also showed that access and availability of resources for pregnant and parenting women varied across neighborhoods.
Conclusion: These findings have significant public health relevance as they suggest that social and physical attributes within neighborhoods may have an impact on the health and pregnancy of the women who live in them. Understanding neighborhood level factors perceived as stressful can help improve maternal and child health outcomes through programming, advocacy, policy and education.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
James, Keyonieksj10@pitt.eduKSJ10
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairTerry, Martha Annmaterry@pitt.eduMATERRY
Committee MemberDavis, Esa M.davisem@upmc.eduEMD55
Committee MemberTrauth, Jeanette M.trauth@pitt.eduTRAUTH
Date: 22 July 2014
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 22 July 2014
Approval Date: 29 September 2014
Submission Date: 11 August 2014
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 81
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Neighborhood environment, psychosocial stress, preterm birth, low birth weight, pregnancy
Date Deposited: 29 Sep 2014 20:04
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2016 14:42


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