Parenting-related stressors and self-reported mental health of mothers with young children

Ritesh Mistry, Gregory D. Stevens, Harvinder Sareen, Roberto De Vogli, Neal Halfon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Objectives. We assessed whether there were associations between maternal mental health and individual and co-occurring parenting stressors related to social and financial factors and child health care access. Methods. We used cross-sectional data from the 2000 National Survey of Early Childhood Health. The 5-item Mental Health Inventory was used to measure self-reported mental health. Results. After we controlled for demographic covariates, we found that the following stressors increased the risk of poor maternal mental health: lack of emotional (odds ratio [OR] = 3.4; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.0, 5.9) or functional (OR = 2.2; 95% CI = 1.3, 3.7) social support for parenting, too much time spent with child (OR = 3.5; 95% CI = 2.0, 6.1), and difficulty paying for child care (OR = 2.3; 95% CI = 1.4, 3.9). In comparison with mothers without any parenting stressors, mothers reporting 1 stressor had 3 times the odds of poor mental health (OR = 3.1; 95% CI = 2.1, 4.8), and mothers reporting 2 or more stressors had nearly 12 times the odds (OR = 11.7; 95% CI = 7.1, 19.3). Conclusions. If parenting stressors such as those examined here are to be addressed, changes may be required in community support systems, and improvements in relevant social policies may be needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1261-1268
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Public Health
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jan 7 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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