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Conditional cash transfers and adolescent mental health in Brazil: evidence from the 2004 Pelotas Birth Cohort

Ziebold, Carolina, Paula, Cristiane Silvestre, Santos, Iná S., Barros, Fernando C., Munhoz, Tiago N., Lund, Crick, McDaid, David ORCID: 0000-0003-0744-2664, Araya, Ricardo, Bauer, Annette ORCID: 0000-0001-5156-1631, Garman, Emily, Park, A-La ORCID: 0000-0002-4704-4874, Zimmerman, Annie, Hessel, Philipp, Avendano, Mauricio, Evans-Lacko, Sara ORCID: 0000-0003-4691-2630 and Matijasevich, Alicia (2021) Conditional cash transfers and adolescent mental health in Brazil: evidence from the 2004 Pelotas Birth Cohort. Journal of Global Health, 11. 1 - 12. ISSN 2047-2986

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Identification Number: 10.7189/jogh.11.04066


Background: Young people living in poverty are at higher risk of mental disorders, but whether interventions aimed to reduce poverty have lasting effects on mental health has not been well established. We examined whether exposure to Brazil’s conditional cash transfers programme (CCT), Bolsa Família (BFP), during childhood reduces the risk of mental health problems in early adolescence. Methods: We used data from 2,063 participants in the 2004 Pelotas Birth Cohort study. Propensity score matching (PSM) estimated the association between BFP participation at age 6 and externalising problems (Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire – SDQ and violent behaviour) and socio-emotional competencies (Development and Well-Being Assessment questionnaire, and the Nowick-Strickland Internal-External Scale) at age 11. Results: PSM results suggest that programme participation at age of six was not significantly associated with externalising problems (P=0.433), prosocial behaviour (P=0.654), violent behaviour (P=0.342), social aptitudes (P=0.281), positive attributes (P=0.439), or locus of control (P=0.148) at the age of 11 years. Conclusions: Participation in BFP during childhood was not associated with improved or worsened mental health in early adolescence. While we cannot fully discard that findings may be due to adverse selection, results suggest that CCTs alone may not be sufficient to improve mental health outcomes and would be prudent to assess whether mental health interventions as an addition to CCTs may be helpful.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: Personal Social Services Research Unit
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2021 13:54
Last Modified: 01 Apr 2024 08:34

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