Maternal religious attendance and low birth weight

Amy M. Burdette, Janet Weeks, Terrence D. Hill, Isaac W. Eberstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

We use data from the U.S. Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study to test whether maternal religious attendance is protective against low birth weight. Building on previous research, we also consider the mediating influence of mental health, cigarette use, alcohol use, illicit drug use, poor nutrition, and prenatal care. Our results indicate that maternal religious attendance is protective against low birth weight. In fact, each unit increase in the frequency of religious attendance reduces the odds of low birth weight by 15%. Religious attendance is also associated with lower odds of cigarette use and poor nutrition, but is unrelated to mental health, alcohol use, illicit drug use, and prenatal care. Although lower rates of cigarette use help to mediate or explain 11% of the association between maternal religious attendance and low birth weight, we find no evidence to substantiate the mediating influence of mental health, alcohol use, illicit drug use, poor nutrition, or prenatal care. Our results suggest that the health benefits of religious involvement may extend across generations (from mother to child); however, additional research is needed to fully explain the association between maternal religious attendance and low birth weight. It is also important for future research to consider the extent to which the apparent health advantages of religious adults might be attributed to health advantages in early life, especially those related to healthy birth weight.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1961-1967
Number of pages7
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Volume74
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Birth outcomes
  • Health behaviors
  • Infant health
  • Religion
  • USA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Maternal religious attendance and low birth weight'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this