Home > Publications . Search All . Browse All . Country . Browse PSC Pubs . PSC Report Series

PSC In The News

RSS Feed icon

Smock discusses the "new American family" on NPR

Pfeffer and colleagues re-examine impacts of community college attendance

Frey explains the minority-majority remapping of America

Highlights

Apply for 2-year NICHD Postdoctoral Fellowships that begin September 2015

PSC Fall 2014 Newsletter now available

Martha Bailey and Nicolas Duquette win Cole Prize for article on War on Poverty

Michigan's graduate sociology program tied for 4th with Stanford in USN&WR rankings

Next Brown Bag

Monday, Dec 1
Linda Waite, Health & Well-Being of Adults over 60

Arline T. Geronimus photo

Black/White Differences in the Relationship of Maternal Age to Birthweight: A Population-Based Test of the Weathering Hypothesis

Publication Abstract

Geronimus, Arline T. 1996. "Black/White Differences in the Relationship of Maternal Age to Birthweight: A Population-Based Test of the Weathering Hypothesis." Social Science & Medicine, 42(4): 589-97.

This study seeks to explore whether early health deterioration ('weathering') among young adult African American women contributes to observed increases with maternal age of the black/white disparity in birth outcome. Theoretically, 'weathering' is constructed as being a physical consequence of social inequality. Thus, the author examines whether African American mothers vary in their age trajectories of poor birth outcome with respect to social class. Black or white singleton first births to Michigan residents aged 15-34 in 1989 (N=54,888 births) are analyzed, using data drawn from linked birth and infant death certificates augmented with census-based economic information. The study finds that among blacks, but not whites, advancing maternal age above 15 years is associated with increased odds of LBW and VLBW. Among blacks in low-income areas, the odds of LBW increase three-fold, and of VLBW four-fold, between maternal ages 15 and 34. The findings suggest that African American women, on average, and those residing in low-income areas, in particular, experience worsening health profiles between their teens and young adulthood, contributing to their increasing risk of LBW or VLBW with advancing maternal age and to the black-white gap in this risk. The findings suggest the importance of comprehensive prevention strategies to improve the health of socioeconomically disadvantaged African American women prior to pregnancy and the reduction of social inequalities that impact health.

Browse | Search : All Pubs | Next