Objective: This study examined whether cigarette smoking mediated the association of racial discrimination with depressive symptoms among pregnant Black women. Design: Cross-sectional. Sample: Two hundred Black women at 8–29 weeks gestation. Measurements: Women completed questionnaires including the Experiences of Discrimination and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression (CES-D) scales, as well as questions about sociodemographic characteristics and cigarette smoking. Results: The mean age of the sample was 26.9 ± 5.7 years and the mean gestational age at data collection was 15.6 ± 5.7 weeks. Approximately 17% of women reported prenatal cigarette smoking; 27% had prenatal CES-D scores ≥23, which have been correlated with depression diagnoses; and 59% reported ever (lifetime) experiencing discrimination in at least one situation (e.g., at work). Path analysis results indicated that the standardized indirect effect of experiences of racial discrimination on CES-D scores through prenatal smoking was statistically significant (standardized indirect effect = 0.03; 95% CI: 0.001, 0.094; p =.042). Conclusion: Cigarette smoking during pregnancy partially mediated the association between lifetime experiences of racial discrimination and prenatal depressive symptoms among pregnant Black women. Smoking cessation programs should focus on identifying and treating depressive symptoms among pregnant Black women.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health