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health promotion, high-risk pregnancy, pregnancy, self-care, stress



  1. Stark, Mary Ann PhD, RNC
  2. Brinkley, Renee L. MSN, APRN-BC


Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between maternal perceived stress and health-promoting self-care behaviors in women experiencing high-risk pregnancies.


Design: Descriptive correlational.


Sample: Women (N = 69) who had a complication in pregnancy that required referral to a perinatologist at a tertiary care center and ere in the third trimester of pregnancy.


Measures: The Perceived Stress Scale is a 14-item scale measuring the extent to which one appraises life situations as stressful. Health-Promoting Lifestyle Profile II is a 52-item scale from which scores for an overall health promotion scale and 6 subscales (health responsibility, physical activity, nutrition, spiritual growth, interpersonal relations, and stress anagement) are calculated.


Results: There was a significant and negative relationship between perceived stress and health-promoting lifestyle. The relationships between perceived stress and spiritual rowth, interpersonal relations, and stress management were significant and negative.


Conclusions: During a high-risk pregnancy, women who engage in more health-promoting behaviors may experience less stress; however, the causal relationship between stress and health promotion is not known. Nurses can offer stress management techniques and health-promoting self-care during this stressful time to encourage health in mother and neonate.