Employment Hardships and Single Mothers' Self-Rated Health: Evidence from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics

Chi Fang Wu, Ming Sheng Wang, Mary Keegan Eamon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using a national sample of single mothers from the 2007 and 2009 waves of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, this study examined the effects of multiple employment statuses on the selfrated health of single mothers during the recent economic recession. Unlike other studies, the current study minimized selection bias by controlling for prior self-rated health, in addition to other predisposing factors, enabling factors, and need factors. We found that underemployment, but not unemployment, is associated with lower levels of self-rated health of single mothers. Results further indicate that the 25-39 age range (compared to the 18-24 age range), lower family income, prior lower self-rated health, more chronic diseases, and binge drinking place single mothers at an increased risk of lower levels of self-rated health. In contrast, strength-building physical activity is significantly associated with higher levels of self-rated health. Implications for health care policy and social work practice are drawn from the results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)478-502
Number of pages25
JournalSocial Work in Health Care
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014


  • Andersen's Behavioral Model
  • Panel Study of Income Dynamics
  • employment hardships
  • self-rated health
  • single mothers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Community and Home Care
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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