Characterization of the Emotional and Physical Health of Mothers of Children with Special Health Care Needs in the United States
|Project Period: 2017 - present||PI: Amy Houtrow, MD, PhD, MPH|
|Funding Source: Internal Funds|
|Researchers: Thomas Hagerman, BS|
Researchers conducted secondary data analysis of the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health. Primary outcomes included respondent reported emotional and physical health of mothers of children with special health care needs (CSHCN). Researchers examined the association of a child’s condition and health characteristics with maternal health.
Over twice as many mothers of CSHCN had fair/poor emotional (10.3%) and physical (12.9%) health than mothers of non-CSHCN (4.1% and 5.5%, respectively). Reports of fair/poor health among mothers of CSHCN were significantly increased among families in which no adults were employed, the family experienced food insufficiency, the child had 3+ adverse childhood experiences, or the child lived in an unsafe community. Mothers of children with the most significant ability limitations were significantly more likely to be in fair or poor health compared to mothers of children who do not have a health condition.
Overall, suboptimal emotional and physical health appeared to be common among mothers of CSHCN, especially those who experienced social disadvantage and when their child has suboptimal health themselves. Recognizing health difficulties of mothers is an important part of family-centered care because maternal health outcomes are closely linked to child health outcomes.