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Title: Family Structure and Infant Health
Resulting in 1 citation.
1. Cramer, James C.
Family Structure and Infant Health
Presented: Chicago, IL, Population Association of America Meetings, April 1987
Cohort(s): NLSY79
Publisher: Population Association of America
Keyword(s): Adolescent Fertility; Birthweight; Child Health; Childbearing; Family Structure; Health/Health Status/SF-12 Scale; Height, Height-Weight Ratios; Household Composition; Income; Morbidity; Mortality; Mothers; Mothers, Height

Permission to reprint the abstract has not been received from the publisher.

The risks of low birthweight and infant morbidity and mortality are higher for teenage and unmarried mothers than for other mothers. These risks are conditional: the difference in risks between married and unmarried mothers is small among adolescents and large among older mothers. An explanation of the conditional risks is proposed in terms of income and family structure. Teenage and unmarried mothers have low incomes, hence the higher risks; among unmarried teenage mothers, the effects of low income are mitigated by living at home with relatives and receiving financial assistance from relatives. This hypothesis is tested with data on birthweight for white mothers, using the NLSY. The expected patterns of low income and residential and financial assistance from relatives are indeed found; differences in income and assistance by age and marital status are very large. However, income and family assistance are unrelated to birthweight and most of its proximate determinants, e.g., weight gain, prenatal care, or smoking. Thus, income and family assistance do not explain the effects of age and marital status on birthweight among white mothers. Smoking and pre-pregnancy weight-for-height do explain these effects; weight gain and prenatal care are also important. These results suggest that youth subcultures, media advertising and images, and personal preferences, not income, are the factors responsible for poor pregnancy outcomes among teenage and unmarried white mothers.
Bibliography Citation
Cramer, James C. "Family Structure and Infant Health." Presented: Chicago, IL, Population Association of America Meetings, April 1987.