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Psychosocial predictors of smoking and exercise during pregnancy

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This study examined health behaviours among nulliparous pregnant Swedish women. Structural equation modelling (N = 350) was used to predict smoking and exercise at gestational weeks 20 and 32 from psychosocial factors measured in early and mid-pregnancy. Although women altered their lifestyle early in pregnancy, so that by gestational week 20 both smoking and exercise had declined, previous behaviours remained strong and consistent predictors of later behaviours. Hostility and health awareness predicted smoking at both weeks 20 and 32. Smoking at week 32 was also predicted by concurrent perceived stress. Exercise at week 20 was predicted by hostility, social support, stress, and whether or not the pregnancy was planned; and at week 32 only health awareness was significant. Social support had a significant indirect effect on each behaviour, which suggests that social support facilitated compliance with health professionals' recommendations. These results suggest that psychosocial factors previously associated with health outcomes also predict health behaviours throughout pregnancy.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, Uppsala University, Sweden 2: Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Uppsala University, Sweden

Publication date: August 1, 2000

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