Date of Conferral
Allison G. Litton
Adverse birth outcomes and adverse childhood experiences (ACE) are concerns in the United States, with potential to impact health indices now and in the future. The purpose of this study was to quantitatively examine the association between maternal exposure to ACE, low birth weight, and county of residence in the Appalachian population using the Life Course Approach as the theoretical framework. A cross-sectional study design and clustering strategy was used to randomly select potential respondents from a data set that was provided by Ohio Department of Health. Self-administered questionnaires were sent to potential respondents to collect information about ACE in the maternal population of Appalachia, Ohio with an overall response rate of 29.5% and 212 total participants. A chi-square analysis was completed and no significant association was found between county of residence and risk of low birth weight. However, statistically significant associations were found between the different types of ACE exposure and low birth weight delivery as well as Appalachian county of residence and exposure to ACE. As the sample of low birth weight deliveries was small, it is recommended that the relationship between ACE exposure and low birth weight be further studied to develop more purposeful health interventions to improve maternal health in Appalachia, Ohio specifically, as well as other rural communities. Reducing rates of adverse birth outcomes and chronic disease burden in Appalachia have potential to reduce health disparities between urban and Appalachian communities, allowing for positive social change for many socioeconomically disadvantaged communities and improving population health.