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Expectant mothers maximizing opportunities: Maternal characteristics moderate multifactorial prenatal stress in the prediction of birth weight in a sample of children adopted at birth

Brotnow, L and Reiss, D and Stover, CS and Ganiban, J and Leve, LD and Neiderhiser, JM and Shaw, DS and Stevens, HE (2015) Expectant mothers maximizing opportunities: Maternal characteristics moderate multifactorial prenatal stress in the prediction of birth weight in a sample of children adopted at birth. PLoS ONE, 10 (11).

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Abstract

© 2015 Brotnow et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Background Mothers' stress in pregnancy is considered an environmental risk factor in child development. Multiple stressors may combine to increase risk, and maternal personal characteristics may offset the effects of stress. This study aimed to test the effect of 1) multifactorial prenatal stress, integrating objective "stressors" and subjective "distress" and 2) the moderating effects of maternal characteristics (perceived social support, self-esteem and specific personality traits) on infant birthweight. Method Hierarchical regression modeling was used to examine cross-sectional data on 403 birth mothers and their newborns from an adoption study. Results Distress during pregnancy showed a statistically significant association with birthweight (R 2 = 0.032, F(2,3 98 ) = 6.782, p = .001). The hierarchical regression model revealed an almost two-fold increase in variance of birthweight predicted by stressors as compared with distress measures (R 2 Δ = 0.049, F (4,3 9 4 ) = 5.339, p < .001). Further, maternal characteristics moderated this association (R 2 Δ = 0.031, F (4,389) = 3.413, p = .009). Specifically, the expected benefit to birthweight as a function of higher SES was observed only for mothers with lower levels of harm-avoidance and higher levels of perceived social support. Importantly, the results were not better explained by prematurity, pregnancy complications, exposure to drugs, alcohol or environmental toxins. Conclusions The findings support multidimensional theoretical models of prenatal stress. Although both objective stressors and subjectively measured distress predict birthweight, they should be considered distinct and cumulative components of stress. This study further highlights that jointly considering risk factors and protective factors in pregnancy improves the ability to predict birthweight.


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Details

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
Creators/Authors:
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Brotnow, L
Reiss, D
Stover, CS
Ganiban, J
Leve, LD
Neiderhiser, JM
Shaw, DSdanielshaw@pitt.eduCASEY
Stevens, HE
Contributors:
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
EditorKavushansky, AlexandraUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date: 6 November 2015
Date Type: Publication
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Journal or Publication Title: PLoS ONE
Volume: 10
Number: 11
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1371/journal.pone.0141881
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2016 14:44
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2019 05:55
URI: http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/id/eprint/28366

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