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Maternal Depression and Childhood Health Inequalities

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  • Kristin Turney

    (University of Michigan)

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    Abstract

    An increasing body of literature documents considerable disparities in the health and wellbeing of young children in the United States, though maternal depression is one important, yet often overlooked, determinant of children's health. In this paper, I find that maternal depression, particularly depression that is recurrent or chronic, puts children at risk of having unfavorable health when they are five years old. This finding persists despite accounting for a host of demographic characteristics of the mothers and children, as well as adjusting for a lagged indicator of children's health. Results suggest that socioeconomic status, as well as maternal health and health behaviors, account for a large portion of the association between maternal depression and children's health. There is also some evidence that maternal depression is more consequential for children born to unmarried mothers than children born to married mothers.

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    File URL: http://crcw.princeton.edu/workingpapers/WP10-08-FF.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing. in its series Working Papers with number 1249.

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    Date of creation: Jul 2010
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    Handle: RePEc:pri:crcwel:wp10-08-ff

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    Related research

    Keywords: depression; children; mothers; mental health; children's health; maternal depression;

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    1. Hope Corman & Kelly Noonan & Nancy E. Reichman, 2005. "Mother's Labor Supply in Fragile Families: The Role of Child Health," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 31(4), pages 601-616, Fall.
    2. James P. Smith, 2007. "The Impact of Socioeconomic Status on Health over the Life-Course," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(4).
    3. Anne Case & Angela Fertig & Christina Paxson, 2004. "The Lasting Impact of Childhood Health and Circumstance," Working Papers 246, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
    4. Kristen Harknett, 2009. "Why are Children with Married Parents Healthier? The Case of Pediatric Asthma," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer, vol. 28(3), pages 347-365, June.
    5. Marcotte, Dave E. & Wilcox-Gök, Virginia, 2001. "Estimating the employment and earnings costs of mental illness: recent developments in the United States," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 21-27, July.
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