This study will explore the differences in attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors between native and foreign-born Black women that may contribute to differences in birth outcomes.
Black women consistently have the highest rates of infant mortality and its most common precursors—preterm delivery and low birth weight—of all racial and ethnic groups in the United States. With the call for closer attention to within-group variability in order to explain distinctive patterns of risk, nativity differences may offer valuable insight into the persistently poorer outcomes of Black women. Foreign-born women have significantly better birth outcomes than their U.S.-born counterparts, even after accounting for traditional risk factors. The reproductive advantage of foreign-born women, studied most often in Latinas, has been attributed to their more traditional cultural orientations. There is a dearth of literature exploring cultural factors among Black subgroups that may be similarly protective of their pregnancies. Studies that have documented variations in foreign- and U.S.-born Black women's birth outcomes have hypothesized that life-long minority status and experiences of racial discrimination may be key determinants of nativity-related disparities. This study will use a mixed-method approach to explore differences between native and foreign-born Black women in terms of their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors regarding pregnancy and motherhood, as well as their perceptions of racism, as a preliminary step in identifying cultural and psychosocial factors that may contribute to differences in Black women's birth outcomes.
Larson Endowment for Innovative Research and Teaching