The Association Between Acculturation and Prenatal Psychosocial Stress Among Latinas
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Latinas experience high levels of stress in pregnancy, however few studies have investigated how acculturation affects pregnancy mental health among Latinas. The goal of this study was to determine if acculturation was associated with pregnancy stress among pregnant, predominantly Puerto Rican women. Participants (n = 1426) were enrolled in Proyecto Buena Salud, a prospective cohort study of Latinas. Acculturation on a bi-dimensional scale that allows for identification with both Latina and continental US cultures (i.e., bi-cultural vs. high or low acculturation) was measured in early pregnancy via the Psychological Acculturation Scale (PAS), language preference, and generation in the US. Stress was measured in early and mid/late pregnancy using Cohen’s 14-item Perceived Stress Scale. After adjustment for risk factors, women with bicultural acculturation had significantly lower stress in overall pregnancy (β = − 2.15, 95% CI − 3.5, − 0.81) and in mid/late pregnancy (β = − 2.35, 95% CI − 3.92, − 0.77) as compared to women with low acculturation. There were no significant associations between proxies of acculturation (i.e., language preference and generation) and stress. Bicultural psychological acculturation was associated with lower stress in pregnancy, while proxies of acculturation were not. Bi-dimensional measures of psychological acculturation should be considered in future studies of maternal mental health.
KeywordsAcculturation Stress Pregnancy Latino Hispanic
This work was supported by a National Institutes of Health Grant [NIH R01DK064902].
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