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Maternal Depression and Childhood Health Inequalities

Author

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  • Kristin Turney

    (University of Michigan)

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Kristin Turney, 2010. "Maternal Depression and Childhood Health Inequalities," Working Papers 1249, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
  • Handle: RePEc:pri:crcwel:wp10-08-ff.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:pri:cheawb:case_paxson_economic_status_paper is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:pri:cheawb:case_paxson_economic_status_paper.pdf is not listed on IDEAS
    3. 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).
    4. Case, Anne & Fertig, Angela & Paxson, Christina, 2005. "The lasting impact of childhood health and circumstance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 365-389, March.
    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.
    6. 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.
    7. Anne Case & Darren Lubotsky & Christina Paxson, 2002. "Economic Status and Health in Childhood: The Origins of the Gradient," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1308-1334, December.
    8. Kristen Harknett, 2009. "Why are Children with Married Parents Healthier? The Case of Pediatric Asthma," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 28(3), pages 347-365, June.
    9. repec:aph:ajpbhl:10.2105/ajph.2005.079400_7 is not listed on IDEAS
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    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • D19 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Other
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • I00 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General - - - General
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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