Conditions and dynamics that impact maternal health literacy among high risk prenatal-interconceptional women

Suzanne D. Thomas, Sandra Carol Mobley, Jodi L. Hudgins, Donald E. Sutherland, Sandra Burton Inglett, Brittany L. Ange

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The purpose of the study was to describe conditions and dynamics in the lives of high-risk, low-income, Southern United States prenatal-interconceptional women (n = 37) in a home visiting program that promoted maternal health literacy progression. In the Life Course Health Development (LCHD) Model, conditions were risk and protective factors that impacted health. Dynamics drove the complex, epigenetic relationships between risk and protective factors. Maternal health literacy promotion helped participants address conditions and dynamics to create positive life changes. This research was a retrospective, mixed methods study of women’s service records documenting care from prenatal admission to 24 months post-delivery. The Life Skills Progression Instrument (LSP) was scored to measure maternal health literacy progression. Ethnographic content analysis of visit notes triangulated with quantitative data enabled specificity of critical data elements. Subsequently, a complementary focus group was conducted with the Registered Nurse Case Managers (RNCM). Severe social conditions included devastating poverty, low educational achievement, transient housing, unstable relationships, incarceration, lack of continuous health insurance, and shortage of health care providers. Dynamics included severe psycho-social stressors, domestic violence, lack of employment, low income, low self-esteem and self-expectations, and social/family restraints upon women’s intended positive changes. An important protective factor was the consistent, stable, evidence-informed relationship with the RNCM. Findings from the focus group discussion supported content analysis results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1383
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2 2018


  • Determinants of health
  • Health disparities
  • Health education
  • Health interventions
  • Health literacy
  • Health promotion
  • Social disadvantage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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