Effects of Maternal Depression on Family Food Insecurity

46 Pages Posted: 14 May 2014 Last revised: 17 Jun 2021

See all articles by Kelly Noonan

Kelly Noonan

Rider University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Hope Corman

Rider University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Nancy E. Reichman

Rutgers University, New Brunswick - Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Date Written: May 2014

Abstract

Theory suggests that adverse life events--such as unemployment or health shocks--can result in food insecurity, which has increased substantially in the U.S. over the past decade alongside the obesity epidemic. We test this proposition by estimating the effects of a specific and salient mental health event--maternal depression during the postpartum year--on child and family food insecurity. Using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study--Birth Cohort, we estimate the effects of maternal depression on food insecurity using both single- and two-stage models, and explore potential buffering effects of relevant public assistance programs and supports. We find that moderate to severe maternal depression increases the likelihood that children and households experience any food insecurity--by between 50 and 80%, depending on the measure of food insecurity. We also find that maternal depression increases the likelihood of reliance on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program; Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children; Medicaid; and the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program, suggesting that these programs play a buffering role.

Suggested Citation

Noonan, Kelly and Corman, Hope and Reichman, Nancy E., Effects of Maternal Depression on Family Food Insecurity (May 2014). NBER Working Paper No. w20113, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2436721

Kelly Noonan (Contact Author)

Rider University ( email )

2083 Lawrenceville Road
Lawrenceville Township, NJ 08648
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Hope Corman

Rider University ( email )

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Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
United States
609-895-5559 (Phone)
609-896-5304 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
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Nancy E. Reichman

Rutgers University, New Brunswick - Robert Wood Johnson Medical School ( email )

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Room 435
New Brunswick, NJ 08903
United States

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