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Transgenerational risk for low birth weight and preterm birth: The role of biology and neighborhood factors in racial disparities

Ncube, Collette N (2015) Transgenerational risk for low birth weight and preterm birth: The role of biology and neighborhood factors in racial disparities. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The purpose of this dissertation research is to ascertain the impact of biological factors as well as social and economic environmental factors on the risk of low birth weight (LBW) and preterm birth (PTB) among infants of non-Hispanic (NH) white and NH black mothers, under the hypothesis that intergenerational factors could be explanatory variables in the perpetuated trend in racial/ethnic disparities in birth outcomes. Three separate research studies were performed. The first is a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies reporting the association between LBW/PTB and neighborhood disadvantage, where the results demonstrate that there is a statistically significant higher odds of LBW and PTB among mothers resident in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods relative to those in the least disadvantaged neighborhoods. This relationship was found only when race-stratified, rather than race-adjusted, models were performed. The second and third studies use a transgenerational dataset of births in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania with birth records of infants born in the years 2009-2011 to mothers who were also born in the County in the years 1979-1998. The second study focuses on the role of mothers’ birth weight (MBW) along with social and economic contextual factors on infant risk of LBW; while the third study focuses on the role of mothers’ gestational age (MGA) coupled with social and economic contextual factors on infant risk of PTB. This research makes significant unique contributions to this field of public health research by examining both biological and neighborhood context factors as predictors of PTB and LBW in multivariate and multilevel models. Even more important is the novel examination of the subcategories of birth weight and gestational age, which led to results suggesting differing roles of biology and neighborhood context among these subcategories. LBW and PTB are of public health significance because they increase an infant’s risk of death in the first year of life, developmental disabilities, and chronic diseases in adulthood. The healthcare costs related to treatment of a prematurely born infant costs the United States billions of dollars a year and can be associated with billions more decades later when chronic diseases develop in adulthood.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Ncube, Collette Ncnn10@pitt.eduCNN10
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairBurke, Jessica Gjgburke@pitt.eduJGBURKE
Committee CoChairAlbert, Steven Msmalbert@pitt.eduSMALBERT
Committee MemberMarx, Johnjmarx@pitt.eduJMARX
Committee MemberYe, Feifeifeifeiye@pitt.eduFEIFEIYE
Committee MemberVoorhees, Ronaldrev12@pitt.eduREV12
Date: 28 January 2015
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 5 December 2014
Approval Date: 28 January 2015
Submission Date: 26 November 2014
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 200
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: DrPH - Doctor of Public Health
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: intergenerational, low birth weight, preterm birth, neighborhood, poverty, segregation
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2015 15:59
Last Modified: 01 Jan 2020 06:15


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