First Advisor

Chris Carey

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Health Studies: Community Health Education and University Honors


Community Health


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.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Persistent Identifier