Diversity Corner

2024 Diversity Research Grant Recipient

By Nicolette C. Molina, MS (PhD Student in Clinical Psychology, University of Oregon)


I appreciate the support from the Society of Pediatric Psychology (SPP) through the Diversity Research Grant for my project titled "Prenatal Exposure to Discrimination: Consequences for Latina Maternal and Fetal Psychophysiology." This research has focused on an underrepresented population, the Latina community in the Greater Salt Lake City area. Latina women are disproportionately affected by premature deliveries—1.5 times more likely than non-Latina White women. Our study explored how both lifetime and daily experiences of discrimination during pregnancy may contribute to the risk of adverse outcomes. Specifically, we have examined the connections between discrimination experiences and the autonomic nervous system responses of Latina mothers and their fetuses. Our analysis also will consider how acculturation status might modify these associations; for example, outcomes may be different for individuals who are more Latina-oriented versus those who are bicultural.

Data collection for this project is complete, and our next steps involve qualitative analysis of the interview data to better understand the nuances of discrimination's impact on our participants and dissemination of our findings. The methodologies used for this study, including innovative technologies, will help us capture associations between daily discrimination experiences and maternal-fetal health. We believe this line of research holds significant potential for informing preventative strategies against the intergenerational consequences of discrimination, ultimately contributing to healthier maternal and fetal outcomes.