Ethnicity, Smoking Status, and Preterm Birth as Predictors of Maternal Locus of Control

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


A woman’s psychological health can affect prenatal behaviors. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between maternal beliefs, prenatal behaviors, and preterm birth (PTB) in a multiethnic population. This was a planned secondary analysis of a cross-sectional trial of postpartum women with singleton gestation. In all, 210 participants were given the Fetal Health Locus of Control (FHLC) scale to measure three primary maternal beliefs that influenced their prenatal behaviors (Internal Control, Chance, Powerful Others). Women who experienced preterm delivery and those who smoked during pregnancy scored the Chance category significantly higher than those who delivered term infants (p =.05; p =.004, respectively). This suggests those who smoked during pregnancy had a greater degree of belief that Chance influenced their infant’s health status. Cultural differences also emerged specific to the impact of health care providers on PTB; with Hispanic women scoring Powerful Others the highest among the groups (p =.02). Nurses can plan a critical role in identifying at-risk women (smoking, strong Chance beliefs) while providing a clear message that taking action and modifying high-risk behaviors can reduce risk for adverse pregnancy outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-187
Number of pages16
JournalClinical Nursing Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 16 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Funding was provided by the Center for the Biologic Basis of Oral/Systemic Disease, NIH/NIGMS 8P20GM103538-09 (PI)—September 23, 2004, to July 31, 2014.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2013.


  • ethnicity in pregnancy
  • locus of control
  • preterm birth
  • smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing (all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Ethnicity, Smoking Status, and Preterm Birth as Predictors of Maternal Locus of Control'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this