A double prevention: How maternal education can affect maternal mental health, child health and child cognitive development

Mariachiara Di Cesare, Ricardo Sabates, Keith M. Lewin


This study uses the longitudinal data of Young Lives for Peru to investigate the protective role that maternal education has for children whose mothers suffer from mental health problems.  Our first set of findings confirms previous research in this area by showing that maternal education is associated with reduced risk of mental health problems for mothers and with improved nutrition and cognitive development for their children.  We further find that maternal education reduces the burden of maternal mental health problems on child development. This is particularly the case for children of mothers with high levels of education.  Unfortunately, for children of mothers with low levels of education maternal mental health problems continues to predict poor nutritional status and poor cognitive development for children. These results suggest that monitoring and support may be especially important for mothers with lower levels of education if inequalities across generations are to be reduced.


maternal education; maternal mental health, child nutrition, child cognitive development; Young Lives Study

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14301/llcs.v4i3.233

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