The Role of Partner Support in the Physical and Mental Health of Poor, Rural Mothers

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Abstract

Previous research suggests that poverty and rural location can lead to stressors and poorer outcomes related to physical and mental health. Given an additional stressor of parenthood, mothers are at particular risk of poorer physical and mental health. It is important to determine which factors might help buffer these stressors. This study examined the physical and mental health of poor, rural mothers, and examined the role that having a partner, and the quality of the parenting relationship, might play in buffering these life stressors. Measures of body mass index, physical health, mental health, presence of a partner, and parenting relationship characteristics were obtained for a sample of 444 low income, rural mothers. Results suggest that physical health was not impacted by partner status, but both having a partner and the quality of the parenting relationship appeared to play a role in the report of depressive symptoms for poor, rural mothers.

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