Health Effects of Unintended Fertility: Examining Mental and Physical Health of Mothers and Fathers

Jennifer A. Mendoza, Ohio State University

Up to one third of all pregnancies are unplanned in the United States, yet, much of the existing research examines the health effects of unwanted births on children rather than on parents. This research expands on previous work by using two waves of the National Survey of Families and Households (1987-88, n=12,247; 1992-94, n=10,007). The NSFH longitudinal panel data allows for proscriptive measurement of intention as well as access to causal ordering. Additionally, the NSFH includes measures of intendedness for both mothers and fathers, something that few researchers have examined. The longitudinal panel data of the NSFH dictates the use of change score models which isolate causal sources more effectively than typical regression models. We expect to find that the incidence of unwanted births increases the likelihood and severity of depression, decreases happiness and worsens physical health.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Poster Session 3