Poverty Intensifies Mental Health Problems for Parents and Children

The news platform for Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh posted this piece on recent research underscoring the link between poverty and family mental health struggles: 

“Living in poverty for long stretches of time can intensify mental health issues in the family, a new study from Heriot-Watt University finds.

Published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, The Indivisibility of Parental and Child Mental Health and Why Poverty Matters study identifies the wellbeing of parents and children as being deeply interconnected, changing over time.

At younger ages, parents experiencing poorer mental health tend to have a negative impact on their children’s conduct, while behaviour problems of a child appear to adversely affect their parents’ mental health. Researchers found that as children grow older, their emotional symptoms tend to affect parental mental health. . . . 

Lead author, Professor Morag Treanor from the Institute for Social Policy, Housing, Equalities Research (I-SPHERE) at Heriot-Watt University, explains: “Our study shows that interventions attempting to improve children’s mental health not only need to address the wellbeing of parents simultaneously, but also tackle the profound negative effects of living in poverty, or else they will have limited success.”

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