Leveraging existing standardized tests to measure outcomes improves the predictability of results. To test level of perceived stress, we utilized the Perceived Stress Scale to measure stress among pregnant women. We define the methods for using a standardized tool, rationale for selecting sociodemographic indicators, assessment of the impact factors, and potential bias.
This case examines the relationship of sociodemographic factors to maternal stress during pregnancy. The investigation is a cross-sectional analysis of a subset of women who were enrolled in a prospective cohort study designed to investigate fetal pelvic index prediction of successful vaginal birth after cesarean delivery. The women were patients in two Pennsylvania Health System hospitals.
A total of 621 women were enrolled in the third trimester and completed the Perceived Stress Scale. Sociodemographic information collected included maternal age, insurance, and income; marital status and living situation; and maternal and paternal race/ethnicity, education, and employment. Univariate analyses of categorical variables and bivariate analyses, using t tests for continuous variables and chi-square tests for categorical variables, were performed.
Additional research is needed to examine other sociodemographic and economic factors that may lead to elevated stress levels in pregnant women. Further exploration of how these factors affect women of different races is warranted.