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Early motherhood and mental health in midlife: a study of British and American cohorts

Henretta, John C., Grundy, Emily and Okell, Lucy C. (2008) Early motherhood and mental health in midlife: a study of British and American cohorts. Aging and Mental Health, 12 (5). pp. 605-614. ISSN 1360-7863

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Identification Number: 10.1080/13607860802343084


Objectives: Examine the relationship between early age at first birth and mental health among women in their fifties. Methods: Analysis of data on women from a British 1946 birth cohort study and the U.S. Health and Retirement Study birth cohort of 1931–1941. Results: In both samples a first birth before 21 years, compared to a later first birth, is associated with poorer mental health. The association between early first birth and poorer mental health persists in the British study even after controlling for early socioeconomic status, midlife socioeconomic status and midlife health. In the U.S. sample, the association becomes non-significant after controlling for educational attainment. Conclusions: Early age at first birth is associated with poorer mental health among women in their fifties in both studies, though the pattern of associations differs.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2008 Routledge
Divisions: Lifecourse, Ageing & Population Health
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Sets: Research centres and groups > ALPHA (Ageing, Lifecourse and Population Health Analysis)
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2013 16:06
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2021 01:40

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