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Keywords

adolescent mother; African-American; health disparities; low birth weight; socioeconomic status; neighborhood; birth outcomes

Abstract

Introduction: Few studies examined socioeconomic contributors to racial disparities in low birth weight outcomes between African-American and Caucasian adolescent mothers. This cross-sectional study examined the intersections of maternal racial status, age, and neighborhood socioeconomic status in explaining these disparities in low birth weight outcomes across a statewide sample of adolescent mothers.

Methods: Using data from the North Carolina State Center of Health Statistics for 2010-2011, birth cases for 16,472 adolescents were geocoded by street address and linked to census-tract information from the 2010 United States Census. Multilevel models with interaction terms were used to identify significant associations between maternal racial status, age, and neighborhood socioeconomic status (as defined by census-tract median household income) and low birth weight outcomes across census tracts.

Results: Significant racial differences were identified in which African-American adolescents had greater odds of low birth weight outcomes than Caucasian adolescents (OR=1.88, 95% CI 1.64, 2.15). Although racial disparities in low birth weight outcomes remained significant in context of maternal age and neighborhood socioeconomic status, the greatest disparities were found between African-American and Caucasian adolescents that lived in areas of higher socioeconomic status (p

Conclusion: These findings indicate that racial disparities in low birth weight outcomes among adolescent mothers can vary by neighborhood socioeconomic status. Further investigations using intersectional frameworks are needed for examining the relationships between neighborhood socioeconomic status and birth outcome disparities among infants born to adolescent mothers.

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