Date of Conferral



Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


Public Health


Richard Jimenez


Racial disparity is present in deaths attributed to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and unintentional suffocation. The Back to Sleep Campaign that began in 1994 caused an overall decrease in SIDS rates, but the racial disparity has continued to increase. Researchers have analyzed and described various socio-demographic characteristics of SIDS and infant deaths by unintentional suffocation in urban areas yet have not simultaneously controlled for multiple risk factors that may contribute to racial disparity such as race, poverty, maternal education, and number of children born to each mother (parity). The purpose of this study was to determine if there is a relationship between poverty, race, maternal education, parity, and infant sleep-related deaths in the African American population in an urban setting. This quantitative case-control study used secondary data collected from birth certificates and matched birth/death certificates by a Midwestern state health department between 2005 and 2009. The health belief model was used as a conceptual framework. To answer the research questions that asked if there was a relationship between infant sleep-related deaths (dependent variable) and race, poverty, maternal education, and parity (independent variables), chi-square analysis and logistic regression analysis were performed. These analyses suggested that race and poverty have significant relationships with infant sleep-related deaths. The analyses did not suggest a relationship between maternal education or parity and sleep related infant deaths. The social significance of these findings may be that the results could be useful for population-specific modifications of prevention messages that will reduce infant sleep-related deaths.