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J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2011 Nov;22(4):1315-30. doi: 10.1353/hpu.2011.0108.

Stress and the social determinants of maternal health among Puerto Rican women: a CBPR approach.

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Hispanic Health Council, Hartford, CT 06106, USA.


This qualitative research project explores how poverty, the built environment, education, working conditions, health care access, food insecurity and perceived discrimination are experienced by Puerto Rican Latinas through the course of their lives. Five focus groups were conducted with the primary objective of documenting community experiences and perspectives regarding: 1) stress, including perceived discrimination based on race/ethnicity (racism); 2) the impact of stress on Puerto Rican women of reproductive age, their families, and/or their community; and 3) stressors that affect maternal health. Focus groups were conducted in English and Spanish in the two cities with the highest rates of premature birth and low infant birthweight in the state of Connecticut. Focus group findings indicate that participants perceived poverty, food insecurity, lack of access to quality education, and unsafe environments as significant life stressors affecting maternal and child health.

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