Housing, Economic Hardship, and Maternal Depression: A Subgroup Analysis

Seleeke Flingai, Metropolitan Area Planning Council
Adam Porton , Princeton University
Jinyuan Qi, Princeton University

Previous literature has established a relationship between socioeconomic status and adverse mental health outcomes - economic hardship and housing instability predicts the likelihood of maternal depression. We analyze a group of 2,103 mothers from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS). We employ a Bayesian model LASSOplus to select the variables with large effects in predicting maternal depression and compare the results with LASSO regression. After incorporating dozens of covariates including age, race, marital status, neighborhood characteristics and parental mental history, the LASSOplus model indicates that economic hardship and a history of depression by the mother’s own mother are in fact the strongest predictors of the mother’s mental health status. These findings suggest that mothers facing economic hardship or those with a family history of maternal depression are most at risk of experiencing depression themselves.

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 Presented in Session 11. Health & Mortality 2