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J Marriage Fam. 2009 Nov 1;71(4):848-861.

Living Arrangements during Childrearing Years and Later Health of African American Mothers.

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  • 1Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of Health, Behavior, and Society, 624 North Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21205.


Using longitudinal data from the Woodlawn Project (N=680), this study examined how patterns of living arrangements among a community cohort of African American mothers were associated with later physical and emotional health. We identified eight patterns of stability and transition in living arrangements during the childrearing years. Health outcomes include SF-36 Physical Functioning, SF-36 Bodily Pain, depressed mood, and anxious mood. Specific patterns of living arrangements were related to later health, controlling for age, earlier health, education, and poverty. Poverty explained many, but not all, of the relationships between living arrangements and health. Findings underscored the benefits of social support and social integration and highlighted the negative effects of marital dissolution on health.

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