The Effects of Early Life Factors and Preconception Stress on Birth Weight in a National Sample of U.S. Women Public Deposited

Downloadable Content

Download PDF
Last Modified
  • March 20, 2019
  • Strutz, Kelly
    • Affiliation: Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Maternal and Child Health
  • The purpose of this dissertation is to examine the impact of preconception stress on offspring birth weight, racial/ethnic birth weight disparities, and the intergenerational transmission of birth weight. Analysis of singleton live first and second births to non-Hispanic White, Mexican- and other-origin Latina, and non-Hispanic Black women in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health was used to address this topic. The first paper of the dissertation examined the roles of latent factors for preconception acute and chronic stress on offspring birth weight and birth weight disparities, including the potentially mediating role of preconception depressive symptoms. Linear regression models indicated that chronic stressors, but not acute stressors or depressive symptoms, were inversely associated with birth weight for both first and second births and partially explained the disparities in birth weight between the minority racial/ethnic groups and non-Hispanic Whites. The second paper of the dissertation examined the persistence of birth weight across generations, including the potentially moderating roles of preconception acute and chronic stressors. Linear regression models indicated that maternal birth weight partially explained the Black-White disparity in offspring birth weight, but that preconception stress did not modify the positive association between maternal and offspring birth weight. The findings suggest that both a woman's birth weight and her experience of chronic stressors through the reproductive period have individual effects on the birth weights of her offspring.
Date of publication
Resource type
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Hussey, Jon
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Graduation year
  • 2013

This work has no parents.