Maternal mental health and pediatric health care use among a national sample of Medicaid- and SCHIP-insured children.
ABSTRACT While the literature has shown that health care use is associated with mental health status, little is known about the relationship between a mother's mental health status and her children's health care use. This study examined the association of maternal mental health status and pediatric health care for their children in a nationally representative sample of 17,830 women parenting children ages 0-17 insured through Medicaid or a State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Mothers with a mental health problem were significantly more likely to be poorer, single parents, with lower levels of education, fewer parenting supports, and greater difficulty coping with parenting than mothers without a mental health problem; however, they reported comparable receipt of pediatric health care for their children, indicating their resilience as caretakers. The findings also suggest that all Medicaid- or SCHIP-eligible families could benefit from targeted engagement strategies linking them with consistent and appropriate sources of pediatric health care.