How maternal depression affects mothers and children

bhalotra 150Sonia Bhalotra is Professor of Economics at the University of Essex. She is co-director of the ESRC Research Centre on Micro-Social Change (MiSoC) at the Institute for Social and Economic Research, and co-investigator on the ESRC-funded project on Human Rights, Big Data and Technology. Her research focuses upon health, gender and child development.

About 12-20% of women in richer countries and 20-35% in poorer countries suffer maternal depression, and 10-35% of children are exposed to this in their first year of life, according to estimate (PDF) . Maternal depression often goes undiagnosed and untreated, and in many cases is incorrectly perceived as a temporary condition. Continue reading

Tax credit cuts: the impact on families

Agnes Norris Keller 150.jpgAgnes Norris Keiller is a research economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies and works in the Income, Work and Welfare sector. She currently works on projects related to the income distribution and the labour market.

Here she examines the changes to the tax credits system which are being introduced this month, and what the changes might mean for those receiving them in the future

The first week of April saw the introduction of significant cuts to the working-age benefits system.

The allocation of tax credits (and universal credit, which is replacing tax credits and three other working-age means-tested benefits) currently depends on the number of children in a family. Continue reading

Mental health: is it associated with our genes or our early years surroundings – or both?

In the second in a series of blogs about biosocial research Professor Gordon Harold, University of Sussex, writes about the new research on parenting.

A member of the ESRC Capability Committee, Professor Harold has specific expertise in the area of child and adolescent mental health.

Gordon Harold

On the sleeve of an album by the band Snow Patrol, the following words appear “mums and dads of the world, be patient with your children”.

As an early career researcher at the time (2004 – a long time ago now!), studying the role of the inter-parental relationship on children’s mental health and development, I thought “that’s it, that’s the bottom line message from millions of pounds worth of international research aimed at promoting positive links between family relationship experiences and children’s mental health – ‘parents, be patient with your children’”.

So, why do we continue with research on this topic? Continue reading