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Child health: evidence on the roles of family income and maternal mental health from a UK birth cohort

Propper, Carol, Rigg, John A. and Burgess, Simon (2007) Child health: evidence on the roles of family income and maternal mental health from a UK birth cohort. Health Economics, 16 (11). pp. 1245-1269. ISSN 1057-9230

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Identification Number: 10.1002/hec.1221


There is a growing literature showing an association between higher family income and better child health. This paper uses cohort data with rich information on mother's early life events, her health, child-health-related behaviours, and her child's health to examine this association for the UK and to identify some of the mechanisms through which income affects child health. The paper examines the cross-sectional association between income and health, finds the expected association, but concludes that the association with current income cannot be distinguished from one between permanent income and child health. It then focuses on the mechanisms by which income translates into better child health; these include parental behaviours that may affect child health and parental health, including maternal mental health. Controlling for these factors, there is almost no direct impact of income. A significant role is played by mother's own health, particularly her mental health. No clear role is played by child-health production behaviours of the mother. Examining the maternal mental health–child health link in more detail suggests a role for maternal anxiety and somaticism.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2007 John Wiley & Sons
Divisions: Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
JEL classification: D - Microeconomics > D3 - Distribution > D31 - Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions
I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I3 - Welfare and Poverty > I31 - General Welfare; Basic Needs; Living Standards; Quality of Life; Happiness
Date Deposited: 17 May 2012 13:45
Last Modified: 20 May 2024 02:48

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