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Maternal role strain and depressive symptoms among female sex workers in Mexico: the moderating role of sex work venue.

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Stressors that arise in parenting are likely to have an adverse impact on the psychological well-being of female sex workers (FSWs), particularly in low- to middle-income countries (LMIC). This study examined the association between maternal role strain and depressive symptoms among 426 FSW mothers with dependent-age children (aged < 18 years) in Tijuana and Cd. Juarez, Mexico (2016-2017). Four dimensions of maternal role strain (e.g., child emotional and behavioral problems) were examined in relation to maternal depressive symptoms. We also investigated whether the relationship between maternal role strain and depressive symptoms was modified by venue of sex work. Compared to indoor/establishment-based FSWs, street-based FSWs reported significantly more child-related financial strain. In multiple regression analysis, having more depressive symptoms was associated with identifying as a street-based FSW, greater use of drugs, lower emotional support, more child-related financial strain and more emotional and behavioral problems in children. A significant interaction was identified such that the association between maternal role strain and depressive symptoms was stronger for indoor/establishment-based compared to street-based FSWs. These findings suggest the need to address parenting strain and type of sex work venue in the development of counseling programs to improve the mental health of FSWs in LMIC.

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