Housing hardship and maternal mental health among renter households with young children

Publication Year


Journal Article

Maternal mental health is crucial to healthy family functioning and child well-being. Housing hardship may increase risk for mood disorders among mothers of young children in renter households. The present study used latent class analysis to investigate manifestations of housing hardship during the postpartum year in a sample of renter mothers in the United States (N = 2,329), as well as whether housing hardship types were associated with subsequent maternal depression and anxiety. The majority of mothers were relatively stably housed ("Stable"), one in six made do with governmental rental assistance ("Rent-Assisted"), and more than one in ten struggled to afford or maintain stable housing ("Cost-Burdened" or "Housing Insecure"). The most severe housing hardship was associated with the greatest depression risk, whereas the best determinant of anxiety risk was whether rent was paid each month; mothers whose rent was paid with government assistance did not differ on anxiety risk compared to those who paid their rent independently. Findings suggest that different types of housing hardship are linked with distinct mental health sequelae. Widely available housing assistance may reduce cost burden and prevent displacement, with the potential to reduce mental disorder among low-income mothers of young children.

Psychiatry Research
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