Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Nursing (M.S.N.)

Degree Program

College of Nursing

First Advisor

Patricia W. Underwood

Second Advisor

Andrea Bostrom

Third Advisor

Carol Olthoff


The purpose of this study was to compare the differences in stress perceived by healthy partnered and unpartnered women in the second trimester of pregnancy. Neuman's Theory of Stress was used as the conceptual framework to explain the potential for greater perceived stress in unpartnered women during pregnancy. A descriptive correlation study was conducted using Norbeck's (1989) Life Events Questionnaire and Underwood's (1993) Perceived Life Stress Scale II, for a convenience sample of N = 40.; T-tests were used to test the hypothesis that unpartnered women would perceive more stress than partnered women. Mann Whitney U tests were used to identify differences in perceptions of specific stressors. Study findings included the following: no significant relationship between partner status and the amount of stress perceived. The Mann Whitney U tests supported that partnered women were more distressed by changes in partner closeness, pregnancy effect, and financial changes. Unpartnered women were more distressed by concerns for the unborn child, health, and upsets with this pregnancy. These results suggest the importance of risk assessment during pregnancy.


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