Date of Award
Child development, Depression in women, Mother and child -- Psychology, Children of depressed persons, Poverty
This thesis examines the issues of maternal depression and poverty, their connection, and the overall adverse effects on child health, behavior, development, and school achievement. Poverty and maternal depression are ongoing social issues in the United States. They are both influenced by several factors such as socioeconomic status, maternal health, and family instability. These factors all directly relate to childhood health and social inequalities.
Poverty, maternal depression, substance abuse, and domestic violence are known to be the most common factors that place young children at high risk for poor health (Azzi-Lessing, 2013). Some of the health outcomes from poverty and maternal depression include high rates of insecure attachment among infants, higher risk of slower cognitive child development, and higher risk of children growing up with behavioral issues including symptoms of depression, placing children at risk of being victimized (Wachs, 2009).
Maternal depression factors include age, education status, employment status, and marital status, yet when poverty is also prevalent in a mother’s life, the risk of damage to the mother as well as her child increases greatly (Wachs, 2009). In this project, I take a look at treatment programs that are already in place such as home-visitation services to improve the quality of mother-child interactions, (Lyons-Ruth, 1990), and infant massage to help mothers recognize signals of pleasure and discomfort to reduce negative consequences of depression (Wachs, 2009), and the need for improved maternal health programs (Santoro, 2010) - all of which can potentially help mitigate these two issues and their proceeding adverse effects on children in America.
Nyseth, Courtney A., "The Adverse Effects of Maternal Depression and Poverty on Child Development" (2015). University Honors Theses. Paper 140.