Abstract Title

Relations Among Prenatal Subjective Stress, Weight Status, and Physiological Stress Markers

Additional Funding Sources

This project was supported by the Idaho State University Office of Research, College of Arts & Letters, and Department of Psychology.

Abstract

Objectives: Both perceived stress and weight status (i.e., abdominal adiposity and obesity) have been related to dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which may serve as a mechanism linking these factors and disease risk. However, this has not been studied in a population of pregnant women, despite unique risk factors (e.g., about 48% of US women gain in excess of CDC recommendations) and health consequences for excessive prenatal weight gain. Therefore, the current study examines associations between third-trimester subjective stress (Perceived Stress Scale), body mass index (BMI), abdominal circumference, and physiological stress markers (diurnal salivary cortisol).

Methods: Participants (n=125) from the Infant Development and Healthy Outcomes in Mothers (IDAHO Mom) Study were used to replicate findings from non-pregnant women, including individual and combined effects of subjective stress and weight status on physiological stress markers.

Results: Pre-pregnancy BMI was found to significantly predict PSS total score in the third trimester (Β=0.184) and PSS Total was a significant predictor of third trimester BMI (Β= .280), and abdominal waist circumference (Β=.397). Women in the obese BMI category had significantly higher perceived stress levels in comparison to women in all other BMI categories (p=0.007). No significant relationships were found to exist between subjective stress and cortisol, or weight status and cortisol.

Conclusion: Significant results indicating a predictive relationship between subjective stress and weight status are consistent with prior literature. However, no significant evidence of a relationship between diurnal cortisol levels and weight status or subjective stress was found, contradicting previous literature. Further studies can use a larger population sample to examine these relationships.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 

Relations Among Prenatal Subjective Stress, Weight Status, and Physiological Stress Markers

Objectives: Both perceived stress and weight status (i.e., abdominal adiposity and obesity) have been related to dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which may serve as a mechanism linking these factors and disease risk. However, this has not been studied in a population of pregnant women, despite unique risk factors (e.g., about 48% of US women gain in excess of CDC recommendations) and health consequences for excessive prenatal weight gain. Therefore, the current study examines associations between third-trimester subjective stress (Perceived Stress Scale), body mass index (BMI), abdominal circumference, and physiological stress markers (diurnal salivary cortisol).

Methods: Participants (n=125) from the Infant Development and Healthy Outcomes in Mothers (IDAHO Mom) Study were used to replicate findings from non-pregnant women, including individual and combined effects of subjective stress and weight status on physiological stress markers.

Results: Pre-pregnancy BMI was found to significantly predict PSS total score in the third trimester (Β=0.184) and PSS Total was a significant predictor of third trimester BMI (Β= .280), and abdominal waist circumference (Β=.397). Women in the obese BMI category had significantly higher perceived stress levels in comparison to women in all other BMI categories (p=0.007). No significant relationships were found to exist between subjective stress and cortisol, or weight status and cortisol.

Conclusion: Significant results indicating a predictive relationship between subjective stress and weight status are consistent with prior literature. However, no significant evidence of a relationship between diurnal cortisol levels and weight status or subjective stress was found, contradicting previous literature. Further studies can use a larger population sample to examine these relationships.