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Homer, Charles J.; Sherman, James A.; & Siegel, Earl (1990). Work-Related Psychosocial Stress and Risk of Preterm, Low Birthweight Delivery. American Journal of Public Health, 80(2), 173-177. PMCID: PMC1404615


We investigated whether work-related psychologic stress--defined as work characterized by both high psychologic demands and limited control over the response to these demands--increases a woman's risk of delivering a preterm, low birthweight infant. We studied 786 employed pregnant women included in the National Longitudinal Survey of Labor Market Experience, Youth Cohort (NLSY), a nationally representative sample of 12,686 young adults. Data concerning work status, job title, and other factors affecting pregnancy outcome were obtained from the NLSY. Assessment of job experience was based on job title, using an established catalogue of occupation characteristics. After accounting for the physical exertion entailed in a job, occupational psychologic stress as measured by job title was not associated with preterm, low birthweight delivery for the sample as a whole (Relative risk = 1.16, 95% confidence interval .45, 2.95). For those women who did not want to remain in the work force, work-related stress increased their risk of experiencing this outcome (RR = 8.1, 95% CI 1.5, 50.2). Personal motivation toward work, as well as the physical effort of work, should be considered in evaluating the impact of a job's psychologic characteristics on pregnancy outcome.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

American Journal of Public Health


Homer, Charles J.
Sherman, James A.
Siegel, Earl