Friday, March 20, 2009

Mental health of mothers on welfare

In the 1990s welfare-reform legislation in the U.S. imposed limits on the financial support given to low-income families with young children who were limited to five years' worth of support over the course of their lifetimes. More and more single mothers and their children are reaching the end of this period now and there are concerns about untreated mental-health needs and substance abuse problems among these people. Researchers from the University of Chicago surveyed 333 women who were in the final two years of their eligibility for welfare and found the following information

a)Over their lifetime
b)In the last twelve months

Mental-Health Problems
a)53.2%
b)44.1%
Substance-Abuse Problems
a)29.1%
b)9.0%
Mental-Health Problems and Substance-Abuse Problems
a)21.3%
b)6.3%

Only 21.7% of the sample who had had mental-health problems in the last year had received treatment and only 41.4% of the sample who had had substance-abuse problems in the last year had received help.

Cook, Judith A. ... [et al] - Prevalence of psychiatric and substance use disorders among single mothers nearing lifetime welfare eligibility limits Archives of General Psychiatry March 2009, 66(3), 249-258

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