A Socioecological Predication Model of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Low-Income, High-Risk Prenatal Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Women

Joan E. Dodgson, Mary Frances Oneha, Myunghan Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Introduction: Only recently has perinatal posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) been researched in any depth; however, the causes and consequences of this serious illness remain unclear. Most commonly, childbirth trauma and interpersonal violence have been reported as contributing factors. However, not all Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (NHPI) women who experience these events experience PTSD. The factors affecting PTSD are many and complex, intertwining individual, family, and community contexts. Using a socioecological framework, 3 levels of contextual variables were incorporated in this study (individual, family, and social/community). The purpose of this study was to determine the socioecological predictors associated with prenatal PTSD among NHPI. Methods: A case-control design was used to collect retrospective data about socioecological variables from medical record data. The sample was low-income, high-risk NHPI women receiving perinatal health care at a rural community health center in Hawaii who screened positive (n = 55) or negative (n = 91) for PTSD. Results: Hierarchical logistic regression was conducted to determine socioecological predictors of positive PTSD screening. Although the majority of women (66.4%) experienced some form of interpersonal violence, a constellation of significant predictor variables from all 3 levels of the model were identified: depression (individual level), lack of family support and family stress (family level), and violence (social/community level). Discussion: Each of the predictor variables has been identified by other researchers as significantly affecting perinatal PTSD. However, it is because these variables occur together that a more complex picture emerges, suggesting the importance of considering multiple variables in context when identifying and caring for these women. Although additional research is needed, it is possible that the significant predictor variables could be useful in identifying women who are at higher risk for PTSD in other similar populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)494-502
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Midwifery and Women's Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2014


  • Health disparities
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Posttraumatic disorder
  • Prenatal care
  • Quantitative research
  • Vulnerable populations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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