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Examining the Mother Identity and Maternal Depression

  • Author(s): Lee, Juha
  • Advisor(s): Stets, Jan E
  • et al.
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License
Abstract

This study aims to examine whether maternal depression in mothers of young children are associated with identity processes. Using identity theory, it considers how an identity is processed between the self and others in situations so that situational meanings match the standards regarding the mother identity. Ordered logistic regression analyses of data gathered from the Early Head Start program in a southwestern town between December 2017 and January 2018 revealed two important findings about low-income mothers. First, consistent with identity theory, mothers reported higher depression when their mother identity was not verified by others. Second, contrary to identity theory, identity prominence and identity salience was positively associated with maternal depression. These contrary findings may be due to mothers not feeling that they are an adequate “financial provider.” This explanation is speculative and future research needs to examine this more closely.

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