Measuring Low Birth Weight Related Stigma in Ghana

Comparison between two LBW babies and a normal birth weight baby (farthest right).

Comparison between two LBW babies and a normal birth weight baby (farthest right).

Founder: Oakland University Sprout Grant

PI: Dr. Kwame Sakyi

Co-PI: Prince Owusu, Dr. Adote Anum, Dr. Adziri Sackey

Research Assistant: Kristin Watkoske


structured Abstract

Background: Low birthweight (LBW) is one of the strongest predictors of mortality and morbidity in newborns, creating significant distress for families. Recent studies have shown that caring for very low birthweight babies also invites stigma for mother-child dyad in some countries, including Ghana. Qualitative studies suggest that high levels of LBW-related stigma may contribute to high depressive symptoms, child neglect, poor mother-to-child attachment, and missed visits for postpartum related care for mothers’ health. For studies to test these associations and potential interventions, a tool is required to measure this stigma.

General Aim: The purpose of this study is to create a reliable and valid scale for measuring LBW related stigma in Ghana.

Methodology: This is a longitudinal study that has two phases. Phase 1 involves pretesting the scale to finalize the scale items. Phase 2 is formally testing the scale to determine its internal consistency, test-retest reliability, and construct validity. One hundred and forty mothers with LBW babies will be enrolled in the study. The study will last one year, starting in August 2018.

Expected Outcome: The goal is to provide a scale that researchers and clinicians can use to identify risk factors of, evaluate potential interventions for, and quantify the burden of LBW- related stigma.