Poverty, Material Well-Being and Mental Health

Colleen Heflin, University of Kentucky
John Iceland, University of Maryland

A large number of studies have linked living in poverty to poor mental health outcomes. However, less is known about the types of poverty-associate hardships that produce poor mental health. Recent evidence suggests that there can be substantial differences between the population defined as poor according to the federal poverty measure and the population reporting material hardships such as food insecurity and housing problems (Iceland and Bauman 2004). We use measures of mental health at two points in time from the longitudinal Fragile Families Survey to better discern the causal direction of the relationship between income poverty, hardship, and mental health. More specifically, we will use fixed-effect models that control for time-invariant unmeasured heterogeneity in the sample.

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Presented in Session 140: Social Context and Mental Health