Perceived social support predicts self-reported and objective health and health behaviors among pregnant women
Gepubliceerd in: Journal of Behavioral Medicine | Uitgave 4/2022Log in om toegang te krijgen
Perinatal health and health behaviors play a crucial role in maternal and neonatal health. Data examining psychosocial factors which predict self-reported health and health behaviors as well as objective indicators downstream of health behaviors among pregnant women are lacking. In this longitudinal study design with 131 pregnant women, perceived social support was examined as a predictor of self-rated health and average levels of sleep quality, health-promoting and health-impairing behaviors, and red blood cell (RBC) polyunsaturated fatty acids across early, mid, and late pregnancy. Participants provided a blood sample and fatty acid methyl esters were analyzed by gas chromatography. Measures included the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, and Prenatal Health Behavior Scale. Regression models demonstrated that, after adjustment for income, race/ethnicity, age, relationship status, pre-pregnancy body mass index, greater social support was associated with better self-rated health (p = 0.001), greater sleep quality (p = 0.001), fewer health-impairing behaviors (p = 0.02), and higher RBC omega-3 fatty acids (p = 0.003). Associations among social support with health-promoting behaviors, RBC omega-6 fatty acids, or gestational weight gain were not significant. Findings underscore the benefits of perceived social support in the context of pregnancy. Examination of pathways that link social support with these outcomes will be meaningful in determining the ways in which perinatal psychosocial interventions may promote health.