Implications of Family Income Dynamics for Women's Depressive Symptoms During the First 3 Years After Childbirth

Dearing, Eric; Taylor, Beck A.; McCartney, Kathleen
August 2004
American Journal of Public Health;Aug2004, Vol. 94 Issue 8, p1372
Academic Journal
Objectives. We examined within-person associations between changes in family income and women's depressive symptoms during the first 3 years after childbirth. Methods. Data were analyzed for 1351 women (mean baseline age=28.13 years) who participated in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care. Nineteen percent of these women belonged to an ethnic minority, and 35% were poor at some time during the study. Results. Changes in income and poverty status were significantly associated with changes in depressive symptoms. Effects were greatest for chronically poor women and for women who perceived fewer costs associated with their employment. Conclusions. Given that women head most poor households in the United States, our findings indicate that reductions in poverty would have mental health benefits for women and families. (Am J Public Health. 2004;94:1372-1377).


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