Aim: To explore the relationships among psychosocial factors (optimism, uncertainty, social support, coping, psychological distress), biomarkers (cortisol, cytokines), preeclampsia, and preterm birth in African American women. Methods: Forty-nine pregnant African American women completed psychosocial questionnaires and had blood collected for biomarkers between 26 and 36 weeks of gestation. Birth outcomes were obtained from birth records. Results: Women reporting higher levels of social support had lower levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-2, IL-5, and IL-6). Surprisingly, compared with low-risk pregnant women, women diagnosed with preeclampsia reported more optimism and less avoidance, and had lower levels of cortisol and IFN-γ. Similarly, compared to women with full-term birth, women with preterm birth reported higher levels of optimism and lower levels of avoidance, and had lower levels of IL-10. Conclusion: Psychosocial factors influence inflammation and pregnancy outcomes. Close assessment and monitoring of psychosocial factors may contribute to improved pregnancy outcomes.
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