Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology

UW News Features Amelia Gavin’s Research on Effects of Stress and Racism on Preterm Birth

Posted: 3/24/2019 (CSDE Research)

CSDE Affiliate Amelia Gavin, Associate Professor at the School of Social Work, was recently featured in a UW News story about a Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice paper in which she connects racial discrimination to PTSD, and thus to preterm birth.

According to Gavin, “Pregnancy is a stress test for the body. If you’ve been stressed during your life through discrimination, poverty and residential segregation, then the likelihood of having a healthy birth outcome has been compromised.”

Gavin’s article finds that African-American women are nearly twice as likely to give birth prematurely as white women. Such births often coincide with low birth weight, and together are linked to other developmental delays and health effects believed responsible for almost one-fifth of infant deaths nationwide. The trend holds up regardless of socioeconomic factors.



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