Marriage and the Mental Health of Low-Income Urban Women With Children

Terrence D. Hill, Megan Reid, Corinne Reczek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Although numerous studies of the general population show that married people tend to exhibit better mental health than their unmarried counterparts, there is little evidence to suggest that the psychological benefits of marriage extend to low-income urban women with children. Building on previous research, this study uses longitudinal survey data from the Welfare, Children, and Families project (1999, 2001) to examine the effects of marriage and related transitions on changes in psychological distress among low-income urban women with children. It also tests the mediating influence of financial hardship, social support, self-esteem, and frequency of intoxication. Although entering and exiting marriage are unrelated to changes in psychological distress, continuous marriage is associated with lower levels of psychological distress from baseline to follow-up. The mediation analysis also suggests that the apparent mental health benefits of continuous marriage are partially mediated or explained by lower levels of financial hardship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1238-1261
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Family Issues
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2013


  • low income
  • marriage
  • mental health
  • urban
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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