Jenn Lanza

The Role Higher Education Plays in Keeping Adverse Stimuli from Occurring in Pregnancy



    The research examined a number of variables which affect pregnancy.  The variables considered in this study included lack of social support, emotional stress, and the mental health of the parent.  This study also considered the role higher education plays in how each of these variables affect pregnancy.  Thus considering whether higher education levels positively or negatively impact  the knowledge parents have about stimuli which can affect the fetus.  The results of this study were contrary to the hypothesis.  However, significance was found in specific subtests between groups.  This significancewas found in the area of social support as well as overall scores between subjects.  This significance was found irrespective of their receiving higher levels of education in the area of child development.



    There were forty female subjects who participated in this study.  Subjects ranged in age from 18 to 21 and attend a small Catholic liberal arts college in the northeast.  They were all students drawn from the freshman class, as well as both the junior and senior classes.  The subjects who participated in the study for class credit.  The alternative for students who did not want to participate in research studies was to write a paper in order to receive credit for their Introduction to Psychology class.


    The subjects were divided into two separate groups.  One group contained juniors and seniors who had taken a Child Development course while the other group were freshman who had not taken the course.  The subjects were given a true/false questionnaire that was written by the experimenter.

    The questionnaire was divided inot five catergories that included three questions in each catergory.  The five different variables that the subject was tested on included social support, stress, mental health, demographics, and physical healthin pregnancy.  The participant was also asked to fill out some background information on their experiences with children.  They were also asked whether they had ever taken a course in parenting or child development in the past.


    A sign up sheet that included the time, date, and place where my reseach study took place was posted in the Psychology department.  The freshman signed up for the study in order to fulfill a requirement for their Introduction to Psychology course.  They could also opt to write a paper if they felt uncomfortable participating in a research study as well as volunteer for the study without receiving credit.  The juniors and seniors were informed of the study through campus e-mail and participated on a volunteer basis.  The two groups were asked to come to participate in the study on the same date at a different time.

    The subjects were asked to meet in room 3103 in the Goulet building.  When the subjects were seated they were given a consent form to look over and sign.  Once everyone had completed the consent form the questionnaire was passed out.  The subjects were then told to answer the true/false questions to the best of their ability.  Upon finishing the questionnaire the subjects were given a debriefing statement in order to help them understand the significance of this study.  They were again reminded not to talk about the study until after the thesis had been completed.


    A multiple analyses of variance (MANOVA) was run to see whether there were any differences found betwen the five subtests used in the questionnaire.  The afore mentioned subtests included stress, social support, demographics, mental health, and other.  The MANOVA indicated there was no significant differnce between the two groups and their success in answering the questions correctly, F (5,34) = 1.42, p > .05.

    The use of separate analysis of variance (ANOVA) were conducted because of the apriori prediction that differences would be found between the two groups on specific subtests.  These separate ANOVA's indicated significance in stubtest number two, social support, F (1,38) = 6.48,  p < .05.

    T-tests were also run in an exploratory manner to examine whether college students differ in their knowledge across subtests regardless of their taking Child Psychology.  The t-test used to indicate overall significance of the five subtests,
F (4, 152) = 4.38, p < .05.

    A matched t-test was also used to analyze which subtest students knew the least about overall.  There was significance found in subtest number three of the questionnaire which explored demographic variables, t (39) = 3.85, p < .05.

If you have any questions please e-mail at:

Return to the top of the page click here