Journal article

Which event matters: exploring the relationship between life events, socioeconomic status and psychological distress in mothers of infants

24 Oct 2011


Psychological distress is an important component of the overall health and wellbeing of individuals. It also represents a risk factor for illnesses such as depression. In mothers, psychological distress has been linked with poorer outcomes, both for the mother and her child. This study explored the relationship between stressful events and psychological distress in mothers of infants.

Using 4,247 mothers of infants from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, it was found that certain subpopulations of Australian mothers, such as young mothers, lone mothers and unemployed mothers, were at an increased risk of reporting psychological distress. In addition, mothers with high distress were more likely than mothers with low distress to report experiencing at least one stressful event within the past 12 months. The study also found that although the number of stressful events predicted the likelihood of psychological distress, certain events were more strongly associated with high distress than others. These included relationship separation, work disappointment and financial crisis.

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