Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Science

Dissertation Committee

Perri J. Bomar, RN, PhD, Chairperson; Rosemary T. Goodyear, RN, EdD; Susan M. Zgliczynski, PhD


armed forces, civilians, nursing, pregnancy, women


Low birth weight and prematurity account for much of the morbidity and mortality in the neonatal period as well as for much of the cost in newborn care. The purpose of this investigation was to determine if two groups of pregnant women, military enlisted and civilian dependents, differed in selected risk factors (smoking, alcohol consumption, weight gain, prenatal care, work patterns, life stress, and social support) or in pregnancy outcome (infant birth weight and gestational age). The House (1981) theory of stress, social support, and health served as the framework for this study. Since little has been published on pregnancy outcome in military populations, it was hypothesized that there would be no differences between the military and civilian subjects. This comparative survey design included a sample of 200 low risk primiparas who were interviewed during the third trimester of pregnancy. Outcome data was collected after delivery. Data was analyzed by t-test comparisons of mean values for predictor and outcome variables, chi-square analyses of categorical data, correlation matrices of variables, and multiple regression. Results showed that several prenatal risk factors were statistically different for the two groups of women. Hours worked per week, weeks worked during pregnancy, and number of prenatal clinic visits were greater for the active duty military group. Prenatal weight gain and reported level of social support were greater for the civilian dependents. However, outcome measures of infant birth weight and gestational age were not significantly different for the two groups. Pregnancy outcome was not contingent on maternal military status or employment patterns. Work outside the home during pregnancy did not compromise outcome. Active duty women, who worked longer into pregnancy, demonstrated as favorable results as their civilian counterparts.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access



Included in

Nursing Commons