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J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2010 Nov-Dec;39(6):645-57. doi: 10.1111/j.1552-6909.2010.01188.x. Epub 2010 Oct 12.

Religion, spirituality, social support, and perceived stress in pregnant and postpartum Hispanic women.

Author information

1
Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Columbia, SCSC 29203, MD, USA. joshua.mann@uscmed.sc.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine the association between religion/spirituality and perceived stress in prenatal and postpartum Hispanic women.

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional survey.

SETTING:

An urban, publicly funded hospital in California.

PARTICIPANTS:

Two hundred and forty-eight pregnant and postpartum Hispanic women between age 18 and 45 years.

METHOD:

Patients presenting for prenatal or postpartum care or for the first infant visit were recruited to participate in the current study. PARTICIPANTS completed surveys consisting of questions about demographic characteristics, religiosity, spirituality, social support, and stress.

RESULTS:

Most participants were unmarried, low-income women with low educational attainment. Ninety percent of women reported a religious affiliation, with more than one half (57.4%) listing their religious affiliation as "Catholic." Overall religiousness/spirituality was significantly associated with increased negative experiences of stress in women who selected English language instruments (Spearman's r=.341, p=.007); there was no such relationship in women who selected Spanish language instruments. Social support and greater relationship quality with a significant other were significantly associated with reduced perceived stress in Spanish reading and English reading women.

CONCLUSIONS:

In this sample of pregnant and postpartum Latinas, religiousness/spirituality was not associated with reduced perceived stress and was in fact associated with increased perceived stress among women who selected English-language surveys. Additional research is needed to investigate this association. On the other hand, the current study reinforces the importance of social support and relationship quality for pregnant and postpartum women.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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