Maternal Characteristics and Neighborhood Characteristics: How do they impact birth-weight and infant mortality?




Roberson, Jerry L.


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Roberson, Jerry L., Maternal Characteristics and Neighborhood Characteristics: How Do They Impact Birth-Weight and Infant Mortality?. Doctorate of Public Health (Health Management and Policy), May 2010, 52 pp., 4 tables, 2 illustrations, bibliography, 63 titles. Infant mortality is a family tragedy and an index of community health and progress. Infant mortality (death in the first year) remains a serious problem in the US and locally (Kochanek, 2002). High rates of infant mortality suggest poor maternal health care, inadequate access to and utilization of health services, insufficient prenatal care, and other social, economic, and health related factors. Thus, the rate of infant mortality indicates the state of a population. The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between individual level characteristics and neighborhood characteristics on infant mortality. Four data sources were compiled to analyze secondary data regarding maternal characteristics, neighborhood characteristics and birth outcomes—birth-weight and infant death. The study population consisted of all live births in specified zip codes within Tarrant County. Neighborhood characteristics from the same areas were also studied. The findings from the study were that there is a significant relationship between some maternal characteristics and neighborhood characteristics on birth-weight; and that the significant relationships on infant mortality are primarily maternal characteristics. Future research should focus on the impact of social support for the pregnant mother.