Early life events, such as those captured by the ACE measures, can have substantial implications for later life health outcomes. We expand the ACEs framework to include a multigenerational focus on adverse birth outcomes. This paper applies a biobehavioral conceptualization to explain how maternal early life adversity shapes attitudes, behaviors, and physiological responses such that adverse birth outcomes are more likely. This should provide a fuller understanding of the causes of differences in pregnancy- and contraception-related attitudes and behaviors as well as highlight the negative physiological impact that early stress can have on birth outcomes.
Although many studies have focused on teen sexual behavior and predictors of teen pregnancy, few have examined potential predictors of teen attitudes toward pregnancy. Using a sample of 416 urban students from the South Central U.S., this study examines the role of childhood adversity on the likelihood of group membership in one of three attitudinal categories toward teen pregnancy (having a baby would make my life worse, better, or would not change it much) using a series of multinomial logistic regressions. Results indicate that childhood adversity significantly increases the odds of believing that having a baby would make life better. Implications for future research and clinical application are discussed.
Spierling, T., & Shreffler, K.M. Does prenatal attachment mediate the relationship between Using multivariate regression analyses with a sample of 133 women surveyed before and after their first birth, this study examined the relationship between multiple dimensions of pregnancy intendedness and postpartum depressive symptoms and examined whether prenatal attachment mediates this relationship. Findings suggest that pregnancy happiness, wantedness, and timing are associated with postpartum depression symptoms, as is prenatal attachment. In the full model, prenatal attachment mediates the associations between pregnancy wantedness and timing and postpartum depression, but not pregnancy happiness.
Shreffler, K.M., Tiemeyer, S., & *Wyatt, T. A mixed methods investigation of adverse birth Adverse birth outcomes are associated with heightened risk for short- and long-term health problems and developmental delay. Infant mortality, very low birth weight (birth weight < 1500 grams), and pre-term birth occur most frequently among births to rural mothers. A variety of demographic, socioeconomic, health care, and cultural characteristics may increase the risk for adverse birth outcomes, and these characteristics vary considerably between urban and rural communities. In this paper, we utilize a unique mixed methods technique, survey-driven narrative construction, in an effort to explore factors that increase risk for or protect against adverse birth outcomes. Specifically, we examine women’s experiences with early life adversity, current sociodemographic circumstances, pregnancy experiences, and birth experiences for women living in rural and urban counties across Oklahoma.
Tiemeyer, S., McQuillan, J., & Shreffler, K.M. Multiple measures of pregnancy intendedness and Multiple studies find evidence of a substantial race/ethnicity and socioeconomic gradient in the proportion of unintended pregnancies and births. Our study uses the recently added variables in the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) measuring the degree that respondents tried and wanted to get pregnant. We consider how socioeconomic class is associated with trying and wanting to get pregnant. The results of our study suggest that age and union status explain most of the social class differences in trying and wanting to get pregnant. Social class modifies the effect of wanting to get pregnant on happiness about pregnancy, respondents whose mothers had the lowest level of education were happier about unwanted pregnancies compared to women whose mothers had at least a high school diploma. Happiness about conception leading to a first birth as an outcome provides insight to the meaning of different measures of pregnancy intendedness.
Shreffler, K.M., Tiemeyer, S., McQuillan, K., & Greil, A.L. Exploring experiences of sterilization among women without children. Paper presented at the 2017 annual meeting of the Population Association of America in Chicago, IL.
In this article, we use data from the National Survey of Fertility Barriers—a national, population-based telephone survey—to examine the reasons for and experiences with sterilization surgeries among women without children. We analyze the small (N = 126) random sample of sterilized women without children using “survey-driven narrative construction,” which entails converting the structured answers and open-ended responses for each respondent into narratives and identifying themes. We focused on the voluntary vs. involuntary nature of both sterilization surgery and childlessness. We found that there is considerable variation in this group. Some women are voluntarily childfree and opted to have sterilization surgery, but most women did not undergo sterilization surgery for contraceptive reasons. Among those who were involuntarily sterilized, there was variation in whether the surgery was a barrier to motherhood. Our results suggest that survey research on childlessness and sterilization should consider these nuances.