African American women's exposure to interpersonal racial discrimination in public settings and preterm birth: the effect of coping behaviors

Ethn Dis. 2011 Summer;21(3):370-6.

Abstract

Objectives: To determine whether African American women's coping behaviors modify the relationship between exposure to interpersonal racial discrimination in public settings and preterm birth (<37 weeks).

Design: A case-control study was performed among African American women delivering infants at two tertiary care hospitals in Chicago, IL between July 2001-June 2005. A structured questionnaire was administered to measure maternal perceived exposure to interpersonal racial discrimination in public settings and coping behaviors.

Results: A greater percentage of African American mothers of preterm infants had high lifetime and past year exposure to racism in public settings than their peers who deliver term infants; odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) equaled 1.5 (0.9-2.8) for lifetime and 2.5 (1.2-5.2) for past year exposure. Active coping, especially "working harder to prove them wrong" led to attenuated ORs (interaction P value<.05 for lifetime and <.10 for past year.

Conclusions: African American women's exposure to racism in public settings is a risk factor for preterm birth; active coping behaviors weaken this relationship.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • African Americans / psychology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Chicago
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Prejudice*
  • Premature Birth / ethnology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires