Path analysis of risk factors leading to premature birth

S. J. Fields, G. Livshits, L. Sirotta, P. Merlob

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The present study tested whether various sociodemographic, anthropometric, behavioral, and medical/physiological factors act in a direct or indirect manner on the risk of prematurity using path analysis on a sample of Israeli births. The path model shows that medical complications, primarily toxemia, chorioammionitis, and a previous low birth weight delivery directly and significantly act on the risk of prematurity as do low maternal pregnancy weight gain and ethnicity. Other medical complications, including chronic hypertension, preclampsia, and placental abruption, although significantly correlated with prematurity, act indirectly on prematurity through toxemia. The model further shows that the commonly accepted sociodemographic, anthropometric, and behavioral risk factors act by modifying the development of medical complications that lead to prematurity as opposed to having a direct effect on premature delivery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-443
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Human Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


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