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Prenatal Care Initiation in Low-income Hispanic Women: Risk and Protective Factors

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Objectives : To examine the psychosocial risk (distress, stress, unintended pregnancy) and protective factors (social support, mastery, familism) associated with entry into prenatal care among low-income Hispanic women.

Methods : Between April and September 2005, 483 postpartum Medicaid-eligible Hispanic women completed a survey at the hospital.

Results : Only 69.5 of women initiated prenatal care in their first trimester. Protective factors were associated with earlier entry into prenatal care. Some risk factors were related to later entry, but relations became nonsignificant after considering protective factors.

Conclusions : Both protective and risk factors should be considered in evaluating the timing of prenatal care for low-income Hispanic women.

Keywords: Hispanic; pregnancy; prenatal care; stress

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1 Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ.

Publication date: May 1, 2009

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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