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Table 1 Summary of measures

From: The British Columbia Healthy Connections Project: findings on socioeconomic disadvantage in early pregnancy

Measurement Construct



Sociodemographic characteristics


Age, marital status, cultural background, first language, education, income and housing. Income was defined as pre-tax annual income from all sources of employment including unreported income and excluding any money received from family, friends or income assistance [28].


Psychological resources


General Self-Efficacy Scale [29]. Likert scale 10 items, e.g., “I am certain that I can accomplish my goals.”

Higher scores represent higher levels of self-efficacy.


Pearlin Mastery Scale [30]. Likert scale 7 items, e.g., “I have little control over the things that happened to me.”

Higher scores represent higher levels of mastery.

Cognitive ability


Shipley-II [31]. Vocabulary Subscale 40 items assesses acquired knowledge. Abstraction Subscale 25 items assesses abstract reasoning.

Higher total raw scores indicate better performance.

Executive functioning

 Inhibition of interference

Stroop Colour and Word Test [32]. Cognitive assessment of ability to inhibit interference in the reaction time of a task.

Higher raw scores represent better cognitive performance.

 Visual attention and task switching

Trail Making Test [33, 34]. Participants were timed while first sequentially connecting numbered circles (1–2, 2–3, etc.; TMT-A), then lettered and numbered circles (1-A, A-2, 2-B, etc.; TMT-B).

Shorter times represent better scores. A ratio of TMT-B / TMT-A represents executive control [35].

Socioeconomic disadvantage

 Having low income

Pre-tax annual income from all sources of employment including unreported income and excluding any money received from family, friends or income assistance.

Living on low income at <$20,000 annual employment income.

 Having limited education

Not completing the equivalent of a BC high school diploma.

Dichotomous (yes/no) variable.

 Being single (having limited social supports)

Not married or common-law (living together consecutively for one year or more).

Dichotomous (yes/no) variable.


Living on the streets or in an emergency or homeless shelter, staying in places not meant as residences, (e.g., car or tent), and/or experiencing “hidden homelessness”, (e.g., staying with someone because of no permanent address or having nowhere else to live or “couch-surfing”) [35, 36].

Dichotomous (yes/no) variable.

 Unstable housing

Having to move three or more times or experiencing homelessness (past year).

Dichotomous (yes/no) variable.

History of child maltreatment

 Child maltreatment age 16 years or younger

Childhood Trauma Questionnaire – Short Form [37]. Likert scale 28 items, e.g., “When I was growing up, I didn’t have enough to eat.”

Moderate-to-severe levels of any type of abuse or neglect.

Exposure to intimate partner violence

 Including physical abuse, emotional abuse and harassment

Composite Abuse Scale [38]. Likert scale 30 items, e.g., “My partner told me that I wasn’t good enough.” Partner was defined as husband/wife, partner or boy/girlfriend for longer than one month.

Higher scores indicate higher levels of abuse.

Mental and physical health

 Psychological distress

Kessler Psychological Distress Scale [39]. Likert scale 10 items, e.g., “About how often did you feel hopeless?”

Total scores of > 25 represent moderate-to-severe anxiety or depression.

 Mental and physical health conditions

Any long-term health conditions diagnosed by a physician affecting day-to-day activities [40, 41].

Number and type of diagnosed conditions.

Prenatal substance use

 Nicotine, alcohol, cannabis, and other street drugs

Frequency of use [42].

Dichotomous (yes/no) variables.

Receipt of health and social services

 Health services received for physical concerns

Visiting primary healthcare providers (family doctors, nurse, and midwives) and receiving prenatal classes.

Number and type of services.

 Social services received

Income assistance through provincial or federal programs such as: BC Income and Disability Assistance, Canada Disability Benefits and Employment Insurance, BC Hardship Assistance, and BC Youth Agreements.

Number and type of services.