Maternal Exposure to Violence over the Life Course and Fetal IGE Level

Michelle Sternthal, University of Michigan
Rosalind Wright, Harvard Medical School

This paper uses a life course perspective to examine the relationship between maternal experiences of violence and fetal cord blood IgE levels. Specifically, the study asks three questions: are offspring’s cord blood IgE levels significantly higher among physically or psychologically abused women, compared to their non-abused counterparts? Does the co-occurrence of multiple forms of violence increase the risk of elevated IgE beyond those related to experiencing only one? Does a mother’s exposure to violence in her childhood influence fetal IgE levels, even when controlling for her exposure to violence during pregnancy? Data from ACCESS, a prospective pregnancy cohort study, are used to regress IgE level on multiple violence measures (including mother’s experience of psychological and physical abuse during pregnancy; and her experiences of psychological and/or physical violence during her childhood), controlling for potentially confounding maternal, child, and household characteristics. The paper’s hypothesized results and contributions to existing literature are discussed.

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Presented in Session 105: Understanding Health and Mortality Using Biomarkers