Preconception and Prenatal Predictors of Early Experiences of Risk and Protection Among Alaska Children




Anna E. Austin, Nisha C. Gottfredson, Adam J. Zolotor, Carolyn T. Halpern, Stephen W. Marshall, Jared W. Parrish, and Meghan E. Shanahan

Brief Type

Journal Publication


  • Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP)
  • Parents as Teachers (PAT)


Objectives: Our objective was to identify preconception and prenatal predictors of early experiences of co-occurring risk and protective factors to help target prevention efforts to the highest-need families prior to the birth of the child. Methods: Data were from the Alaska Longitudinal Child Abuse and Neglect Linkage project and the 2012–2014 Alaska Child Understanding Behaviors Survey. We used latent class analysis and Vermunt’s three-step approach to examine predictors of latent classes of risk and protective factors among Alaska children. Results: Among children of Alaska Native/American Indian mothers, financial (OR 2.02, 95% CI 1.04, 3.90) and partner stress (OR 2.06, 95% CI 1.02, 4.10) prior to childbirth, maternal education < 12 years (OR 2.29, 95% CI 1.05, 4.96), and maternal substance use (OR 2.52, 95% CI 1.30, 4.89) were associated with a higher likelihood of membership in a high risk/moderate protection class as compared to a low socioeconomic status/high protection class. Among children of non-Native mothers, partner stress prior to childbirth (OR 3.92, 95% CI 1.08, 14.19), maternal education < 12 years (OR 2.69, 95% CI 1.24, 5.81), maternal substance use (OR 2.69, 95% CI 1.24, 5.81), younger maternal age (OR 0.87, 95% CI 0.80, 0.95), and a greater number of children (OR 1.62, 95% CI 1.09, 2.41) were associated with a higher likelihood of membership in a moderate risk/high protection class as compared to a low risk/moderate protection class. Conclusions: Results can inform eligibility criteria for prenatal home visiting programs and prenatal screening in Alaska to ensure prevention programming and referrals are directed to families most in need of additional support. (author abstract)

Data Collection Methods

  • State administrative record reviews
  • Surveys or questionnaires



For More Information

Austin, A. E., Gottfredson, N. C., Zolotor, A. J., Halpern, C. T., Marshall, S. W., Parrish, J. W., & Shanahan, M. E. (2020). Preconception and prenatal predictors of early experiences of risk and protection among Alaska children. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 24(1), 82–89. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-019-02823-3
Author Contact Information:
Anna E. Austin


  • Participant Characteristics