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Holzman, Claudia B.; Eyster, Janet; Kleyn, Mary; Messer, Lynne C.; Kaufman, Jay S.; Laraia, Barbara A.; O'Campo, Patricia; Burke, Jessica G.; Culhane, Jennifer F.; & Elo, Irma T. (2009). Maternal Weathering and Risk of Preterm Delivery. American Journal of Public Health, 99(10), 1864-1871. PMCID: PMC2741514


Objectives: We compared the association between advancing maternal age and risk of preterm delivery across 4 groups (Black smokers, Black nonsmokers, White smokers, White nonsmokers) and within the context of neighborhood deprivation levels.
Methods: We obtained data from linked census and birth records for singletons (n = 182 938) delivered by women aged 20 to 39 years in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Baltimore, Maryland; 16 Michigan cities; 3 Maryland counties; and 2 North Carolina counties. Results from area-specific multilevel logistic regression models were combined to obtain pooled estimates of relations between maternal age and risk of preterm delivery. We repeated the models after categorizing women by neighborhood deprivation level (low, medium, and high).
Results: Among multiparous women, there was a significant age-related increase in preterm delivery in 3 of the 4 groups. The adjusted odds ratio per 5-year age increase was 1.31 in Black smokers, 1.11 in Black nonsmokers, and 1.16 in White smokers. In each group, the odds ratio increased as neighborhood deprivation increased.
Conclusions: These results support the "weathering" hypothesis, suggesting that Black women, women with high-risk behaviors, and women living in high-deprivation neighborhoods may develop "accelerated aging" that increases preterm delivery risk.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

American Journal of Public Health


Holzman, Claudia B.
Eyster, Janet
Kleyn, Mary
Messer, Lynne C.
Kaufman, Jay S.
Laraia, Barbara A.
O'Campo, Patricia
Burke, Jessica G.
Culhane, Jennifer F.
Elo, Irma T.