Is socioeconomic inequality in postnatal depression an early-life root of disadvantage for children?

The European Journal of Health Economics : HEPAC : Health Economics in Prevention and Care
Jemimah Ride

Abstract

This paper investigates the role that socioeconomic inequality in postnatal depression might play in intergenerational transmission of inequality. Infants' development is thought to be particularly sensitive to mothers' mental health at this time, suggesting that greater early-life exposure to maternal depression among disadvantaged groups might be a root of later socioeconomic inequalities. Heightened contact with health services during this period presents opportunities for intervention, but higher unmet need for treatment of postnatal depression among the disadvantaged might be widening inequalities. The aim of this study is to quantify the potential contribution of postnatal depression to socioeconomic inequalities in adverse childhood health and development outcomes. Regression-based decomposition of the concentration index is used to explore the association between income inequality in postnatal depressive symptoms and income inequality in children's outcomes. Four problems of early adolescence are explored: emotional and conduct problems, special educational needs, and low self-assessed health. Data are taken from the UK Millennium Cohort Study, with a sample of 4359 mothers and children with complete data on outcomes an...Continue Reading

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