Date of Conferral





Public Health


Jeanne Connors


Social support represents a network that provides for family, relatives, and friends and is an important predictor of future health and well-being. A knowledge gap exists in the literature regarding a need for social support for Black mothers of preterm babies. This qualitative study explored the perception of social support for Black mothers of preterm babies in Southwest Ohio. The phenomenological method of inquiry was used to gain an in-depth understanding of social support Black mothers receive after preterm birth. The social ecological theory provided a framework for understanding how individual, interpersonal, community, organizations, and policy affect a Black mother's perception of social support after preterm birth. NVivo was used to organize each data category for thematic analysis. The themes included (a) father of the baby, (b) help in times of need, (c) financial assistance, (d) government assistance, (e) lack of support, (f) mom and baby, (g) transition challenges, (h) depression, (i) acknowledging hospital support, (j) uncomfortable support, (k) unrelated support, and (l) increase in assistance. The findings indicate the lack of understanding of preterm birth and its long-term implications for a child, the need for additional interventions prior to discharge, and additional culturally appropriate training of healthcare staff. The study contributed to social change by increasing the understanding of researchers and health care professional regarding social support and improving transitions after preterm birth from hospital to home for Black mothers.