Self-reported experiences of racial discrimination and Black-White differences in preterm and low-birthweight deliveries: the CARDIA Study

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Department of Quantitative Health Sciences

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Adolescent; Adult; *African Americans; *European Continental Ancestry Group; Female; Humans; *Infant, Low Birth Weight; Infant, Newborn; Obstetric Labor, Premature; Pregnancy; *Prejudice


Bioinformatics | Biostatistics | Epidemiology | Health Services Research


OBJECTIVES: We examined the effects of self-reported experiences of racial discrimination on Black-White differences in preterm (less than 37 weeks gestation) and low-birthweight (less than 2500 g) deliveries.

METHODS: Using logistic regression models, we analyzed data on 352 births among women enrolled in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study.

RESULTS: Among Black women, 50% of those with preterm deliveries and 61% of those with low-birthweight infants reported having experienced racial discrimination in at least 3 situations; among White women, the corresponding percentages were 5% and 0%. The unadjusted odds ratio for preterm delivery among Black versus White women was 2.54 (95% confidence interval [CI]=1.33, 4.85), but this value decreased to 1.88 (95% CI=0.85, 4.12) after adjustment for experiences of racial discrimination and to 1.11 (95% CI=0.51, 2.41) after additional adjustment for alcohol and tobacco use, depression, education, and income. The corresponding odds ratios for low birthweight were 4.24 (95% CI=1.31, 13.67), 2.11 (95% CI=0.75, 5.93), and 2.43 (95% CI=0.79, 7.42).

CONCLUSIONS: Self-reported experiences of racial discrimination were associated with preterm and low-birthweight deliveries, and such experiences may contribute to Black-White disparities in perinatal outcomes.


Am J Public Health. 2004 Dec;94(12):2125-31.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

American journal of public health

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Link to Article in PubMed