Perceived Physical and Social Residential Environment and Preterm Delivery in African-American Women

Shawnita Sealy-Jefferson, Carmen Giurgescu, Laura Helmkamp, Dawn P. Misra, Theresa L. Osypuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Perceptions of the residential environment may be associated with preterm delivery (PTD), though few studies exist. Data from the Life-course Influences on Fetal Environments (LIFE) Study (metropolitan Detroit, Michigan, 2009-2011) were used to examine whether perceptions of the current social and physical environment were associated with PTD rates among postpartum African-American women (n = 1,411). Perceptions of the following neighborhood characteristics were measured with validated multi-item scales: healthy food availability, walkability, safety, social cohesion, and social disorder. No significant associations between perceived residential environment and PTD were found in the total sample. However, education significantly modified 4 of the 5 associations (all interaction P's < 0.05). In women with ≤12 years of education, significant inverse associations were observed between PTD rates and perceptions of the following neighborhood characteristics: healthy food availability (unadjusted prevalence ratio (uPR) = 0.81, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.68, 0.98), walkability (uPR = 0.77, 95% CI: 0.64, 0.95), and safety (uPR = 0.73, 95% CI: 0.56, 0.95). Women with ≤12 years of education also had higher PTD rates with higher social disorder (age-adjusted PR = 1.54, 95% CI: 1.10, 2.17). Null associations existed for women with >12 years of education. The PTD rates of women with lower education may be significantly affected by the physical and social residential environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)485-493
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 15 2015


  • African Americans
  • neighborhood
  • perceptions
  • preterm delivery

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

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