Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Ann Creighton-Zollar


The purpose of this research was to determine how much of the variance in birthweight can be explained by socio-economic status and utilization of prenatal care in Blacks and Whites. Rather than defining race in genetic terms, race was understood here as a social construction. The methodological approach was an analysis of the National Survey of Family Growth Cycle IV, 1988. The first, singleton, live birth for each interviewed woman was included, resulting in a sample of 911 women, of whom 313 were Black women and 598 White women.

Consistent with previous research, Black mothers were twice as likely to have a low birthweight infant (11.8%) compared to White women (6%). In the total sample race, marital status, and income were correlated with birthweight. Multiple regression analysis was used to examine how much of the variance in birthweight is explained by socioeconomic factors and utilization of prenatal care. The model explained 5% of the variance in birthweight. Race and education were the only two factors that significantly explained variance in birthweight in this model. The findings failed to support the hypothesis that socioeconomic status and utilization of prenatal care would explain a significant amount of the variance in birthweight. The variables included in the model did not explain variance in birthweight for either Black women, or White women.


Scanned, with permission from the author, from the original print version, which resides in University Archives.


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