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Matern Child Nurs J. 1989 Spring;18(1):49-60.

Anxiety levels, health behaviors, and support systems of pregnant women.


The purpose of this correlational descriptive study was to assess health behaviors, anxiety levels, and social support of pregnant women, ages 20 to 40, who were without complications and were patients of four private obstetrical practices in a large metropolitan city. Although sampling was a nonprobability approach, various socioeconomic, racial, and religious groups were represented. The three instruments used to test the hypotheses included the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), the Personal Resource Questionnaire (PRQ) and a detailed Health Behavior Demographic Questionnaire. Results of the data indicated no significant differences between pregnant smokers' and pregnant nonsmokers' STAI or PRQ scores. Significant positive correlations were revealed between the following variables: Trait anxiety with increased age of pregnancy (r = .77, p = .008); trait anxiety with high educational level (r = .72, p = .001); trait anxiety with state anxiety (r = .64, p = .001); trait anxiety with years married (r = .68, p = .018); trait anxiety with numbers of children (r = .82, p = .005); trait anxiety with high occupation level (r = .68, p = .001), increased age with PRQ support (r = -.88, p = .001); caucasian women examined breast more frequently (r = .47, p = .005); pregnant women who were smokers also were more likely to drink (r = .66, p = .03). Significant negative correlations were: Increased state anxiety with decreased social support (r = -.28, p = .05); higher trait anxiety with lower PRQ (r = -.59, p = .001), and more drinks of alcohol per day with decreased social support (r = .88, p = .04). The study indicated that the subjects who continue to smoke while pregnant were highly educated. All had at least two years of college with 45% having completed graduate school. All were working in managerial or professional jobs. This has implications for nursing interventions focused on enhancing health coping strategies at the workplace and specific health promotion activities designed to reduce job-related stress during pregnancy.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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