Understanding Maternal Smoking during Pregnancy: How Does Social Capital Get under the Skin?
Carla Shoff, Pennsylvania State University
Smoking during pregnancy is associated with poor health outcomes for both mother and child. However, over half of women who smoke continue to smoke while they are pregnant. Previous studies on maternal smoking during pregnancy that have considered measures of residential context have been limited by their homogenous samples of women and their omission of important contextual factors. In this paper we focus on the association between county-level social capital and the odds of women smoking during pregnancy using a 100 percent sample in the US. Mothers living in nonmetropolitan counties were 5 percent more likely to smoke during pregnancy than their metropolitan counterparts. Nonetheless, social capital may moderate the negative impact of residence on smoking. Specifically, a one unit increase in social capital index was found to reduce 8 percent of the odds of smoking during pregnancy among those mothers living in nonmetropolitan counties.