The Effects of Family Functioning on Birthweight: a Prospective Cohort Study
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A variety of factors influence how the infant grows while in the womb. This NIH-funded prospective cohort study followed 1,206 mother-infant pairs from their first prenatal care visit to delivery. The focus was on the impact of one psychosocial factor, family functioning, on infant birthweight. The hypothesis was that family dysfunction would lead to infants that weighed less, on average, at delivery, than infants born to women from functional families. After a basic linear regression model was built that included the major known determinants of infant birthweight – length of gestation, sex of the infant, parity, maternal height, maternal weight, ethnicity, smoking status, and gestational weight gain – with an adjusted r-squared = 0.5562, the family functioning variable was added. The study found that family functioning was not associated with infant birthweight, with the incremental adjusted r-squared = -0.0071 (p-value = 0.6870) for the family functioning variable.