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Matern Child Health J. 2016 Mar;20(3):710-9. doi: 10.1007/s10995-015-1871-2.

Influence of Maternal Depression on WIC Participation in Low-Income Families.

Author information

1
Department of Pediatrics, Division of General Pediatrics, Boston Medical Center, Boston University School of Medicine, 88 East Newton Street, Vose Hall 3rd Floor, Boston, MA, 02118, USA. toys@bu.edu.
2
Department of Biostatistics, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.
3
Department of Pediatrics, Division of General Pediatrics, Boston Medical Center, Boston University School of Medicine, 88 East Newton Street, Vose Hall 3rd Floor, Boston, MA, 02118, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To date, little is known regarding the impact of maternal depression on participation in public benefit programs. This study examines whether maternal depression is predictive of lower WIC participation in early childhood.

METHODS:

This was a secondary data analysis using weighted data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort. Maternal data collected when children were 9 and 24 months of age were used. 9 months was considered baseline, and 24 months was considered follow-up. The study cohort consisted of 3841 low income mothers, defined as <185 % federal poverty level, who reported WIC participation at baseline. Baseline maternal depressive symptoms were measured by a 12-item abbreviated version of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. WIC participation was assessed by maternal self-report.

RESULTS:

At baseline, 24.5 % of mothers were depressed (raw score >9). The majority of mothers were white, unemployed, and born in the US. Most received Medicaid (74 %) and almost half received SNAP (47 %). At follow-up, 80.1 % of mothers reported WIC participation. In multivariable analysis, maternal depression at baseline was significantly associated with decreased WIC participation at follow-up (aOR 0.74; 95 % CI 0.55-0.99).

CONCLUSIONS:

Our results suggest that maternal depression is an independent risk factor for decreased WIC participation in low-income families with young children. Primary and secondary prevention strategies aimed at maternal depression may positively impact low-income families' participation in public benefit programs. Further longitudinal and interventional studies are needed in order to inform clinical practice and public health policy.

KEYWORDS:

Low-income; Maternal depression; Public benefits; Social safety nets; WIC

PMID:
26645615
DOI:
10.1007/s10995-015-1871-2
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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