Online Program

Salient Components of Personal Capital among Low Socioeconomic Status Pregnant Women: Findings from a Qualitative Pilot Study

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Fathima Wakeel, PhD, MPH, Public Health Program, College of Health Professions, Ferris State University, Big Rapids, MI
Stephanie Robert, PhD, MSW, School of Social Work, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
Anuli Njoku, DrPH, MPH, Public Health Program, College of Health Professions, Ferris State University, Big Rapids, MI
Whitney P. Witt, PhD, MPH, Truven Health Analytics, Bethesda, MD
Melissa Emmerich, MD, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Marshfield Clinic Eau Claure Center, Eau Claire, WI
Objective: To explore salient components of personal capital among low-SES women. Personal capital was conceptualized as protective resources that may help reduce women’s stress, thereby improving MCH outcomes.

Methods: We conducted semi-structured interviews with 31 currently or recently pregnant women at a Midwestern prenatal clinic. Most participants were White, employed, publicly insured, and had completed at least high-school. We discussed life and pregnancy-related stressors and available resources to help reduce stress.  Content and thematic analyses aimed to identify salient personal capital resources that potentially foster positive health outcomes and document key differences and similarities in the description of resources among women from various SES levels.

Results:  The following salient resources emerged as helping women cope with stress: (1) Partners and families (particularly mothers) providing emotional and instrumental support as well as “alone time”; (2) Informational support from neighbors, community organizations, and healthcare providers; and (3) Internal strengths, including ability to “problem-solve” or “see the big picture”, empathy, spirituality and engaging in healthy stress-relieving behaviors. Though women from all SES levels cited these resources as important, low-SES women tended to emphasize significant barriers to seeking informal support, including lack of availability/accessibility, concerns about “being judged”, and negative past experiences.

Conclusions: Personal capital may be conceptualized as internal strengths and social resources, at interpersonal and community levels, that help women reduce stress and attain positive MCH outcomes. Further research is needed to explore the socio-psychological barriers to support-seeking among low-SES women and develop valid personal capital measures for use among vulnerable populations.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the construct of personal capital as it relates to MCH outcomes. Describe the salient components of personal capital among low-SES women. Discuss the social and psychological barriers preventing women from seeking social resources.

Keyword(s): Health Disparities/Inequities, Women's Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I designed the pilot study, collected the data, and analyzed the data. I have been working in the MCH field for the past 13 years, and among my research expertise and interests is socioeconomic and racial/ethnic health disparities in MCH outcomes.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.