Maternal mental health and pediatric health care use among a national sample of Medicaid- and SCHIP-insured children

J Behav Health Serv Res. 2010 Oct;37(4):443-60. doi: 10.1007/s11414-009-9181-3. Epub 2009 Aug 7.


While the literature has shown that health care use is associated with mental health status, little is known about the relationship between a mother's mental health status and her children's health care use. This study examined the association of maternal mental health status and pediatric health care for their children in a nationally representative sample of 17,830 women parenting children ages 0-17 insured through Medicaid or a State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Mothers with a mental health problem were significantly more likely to be poorer, single parents, with lower levels of education, fewer parenting supports, and greater difficulty coping with parenting than mothers without a mental health problem; however, they reported comparable receipt of pediatric health care for their children, indicating their resilience as caretakers. The findings also suggest that all Medicaid- or SCHIP-eligible families could benefit from targeted engagement strategies linking them with consistent and appropriate sources of pediatric health care.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Insurance, Health
  • Male
  • Medicaid / statistics & numerical data
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Preventive Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • State Health Plans / statistics & numerical data
  • United States