Psychosocial Determinants of Pregnancy Outcomes Among the Amish
Lancaster County has North America’s oldest and most densely populated Amish settlement and the second largest in the United States. Despite a relative lack of prenatal care, Amish women appear to have slightly better pregnancy outcomes than non-Amish women. Lancaster County Amish women report less stress, fewer symptoms of depression, higher mental health status, and higher levels of social support, which may be causative agents of the positive pregnancy outcomes. Utilizing datasets from the Central Pennsylvania Women’s Health Survey (CePAWHS) in 2004 and 2008, the authors examined longitudinal relationships between psychosocial determinants—stress, depression, social support, locus of control, self-esteem—and pregnancy outcomes—low-birth weight infants, preterm delivery, stillbirth, miscarriage—among Lancaster County Amish (n=288) and women in Central Pennsylvania (n=2,002). While having more pregnancies than Central Pennsylvanian women, the Amish exhibit equal incidences of low-birth weight infants and preterm delivery and half as much stillbirth. A significant relationship was found between high self-esteem and improved pregnancy outcomes among the Amish. This analysis is believed to be one of the first longitudinal studies of population-based survey data in Amish. The authors are working to further explore the observed relationship between self-esteem and pregnancy outcomes and validate the instrument through interviews with Amish women.
Franklin and Marshall College Archives, Undergraduate Honors Thesis 2009
- F&M Theses Collection