Online Program

Relationship between the Great Recession and widening maternal and child health disparities: Findings from Washington and Florida

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 1:30 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.

Erin Abu-Rish Blakeney, PhD, RN, Department of Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Brenda Zierler, PhD, RN, School of Nursing-Department of Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Betty Bekemeier, RN, PhD, FAAN, School of Nursing, Department of Psychosocial & Community Health, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Background:  The purpose of this study was to explore relationships between the Great Recession and maternal and child health (MCH) disparities in prenatal care, birth weight, gestational age, and infant mortality.

Methods: Using individual-level Washington (WA) and Florida (FL) birth certificate data, MCH outcome rates and disparities were analyzed.  Attention was focused on whether disparities widened during two recession periods: Period #1 (December 2007-June 2009—official dates of Great Recession), and Period #2 (January 2010-December 2011), compared to a Baseline Period (January 2005- March 2007). 

Results:  Of 14 unique subpopulations and their 47 component groups (e.g., subpopulation ‘maternal ethnicity’ divided into five component groups such as non-Hispanic White, non-Hispanic Black), disparities widened on at least one MCH outcome for 22 groups in WA during Period #1 and 37 groups during Period #2, compared to baseline.  In FL, disparities widened for 25 groups during Period #1 and 31 during Period #2.  Disparities increased in both periods on the same outcomes for 11 groups in WA and seven groups in FL.  Disparity increases among individual-level component groups tended to cluster among those with young age, low education, and among members of minority race/ethnicity groups—particularly Black mothers (of both Hispanic and non-Hispanic ethnicity). 

Conclusions:  Findings support hypothesized connections between increased individual and community level need, the Great Recession, and MCH outcomes and disparities.  Compared to baseline, there were more increases in Period #2 than #1.  Additional research on predictors/contributors influencing changes in disparities are needed.

Learning Areas:

Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related nursing
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Name three groups for whom MCH disparities increased during the Great Recession. Describe areas that warrant further research into connections between the Great Recession and MCH outcomes/disparities.

Keyword(s): Health Disparities/Inequities, Maternal and Child Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I recently completed my PhD and carried out this research for my dissertation. During my PhD I completed extensive coursework in research methods and statistics as well as study of maternal child health epidemiology and approaches to data visualization. My dissertation research was funded by NIH-funded Multidisciplinary Predoctoral Clinical Research Training Program (TL1) Trainee and I was mentored by active practice-based public health services and systems researchers.
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.

Back to: 3286.0: Maternal Child Health