State income inequality, household income, and maternal mental and physical health: cross sectional national survey
Kahn, Robert S.
Wise, Paul H.
Kennedy, Bruce P.
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CitationKahn, R. S, P. H Wise, B. P Kennedy, and I. Kawachi. 2000. “State Income Inequality, Household Income, and Maternal Mental and Physical Health: Cross Sectional National Survey.” BMJ 321 (7272): 1311–15. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.321.7272.1311.
AbstractObjective To examine the association of state income inequality and individual household income with the mental and physical health of women with young children.Design Cross sectional study. Individual level data (outcomes, income, and other sociodemographic covariates) from a 1991 follow up survey of a birth cohort established in 1988. State level income inequality calculated from the income distribution of each state from 1990 US census.Setting United States, 1991.Participants Nationally representative stratified random sample of 8060 women who gave birth in 1988 and were successfully contacted (89%) in 1991.Main outcome measures Depressive symptoms (Center for Epidemiologic Studies depression score >15) and self rated healthResults 19% of women reported depressive symptoms, and 7.5% reported fair or poor health. Compared with women in the highest fifth of distribution of household income, women in the lowest fifth were more likely to report depressive symptoms (33% v 9% P<0.001) and fair or poor health (15% v 2% P<0.001). Compared with low income women in states with low income inequality, low income women in states wit high income inequality had a higher risk of depressive symptoms (odds ratio 1.6, 95% confidence interval 1.0 to 2.6) and fair or poor health (1.8, 0.9 to 3.5).Conclusions High income inequality confers an increased risk of poor mental and physical health, particularly among the poorest women. Both income inequality and household income are important for health in this population.
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