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Impact of Work Schedule, Race, and Psychological Distress among Impoverished Mothers

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We tested the relationships among work schedule, race, and psychological distress in impoverished working mothers.


Baseline data from a longitudinal cohort study of impoverished mothers (N = 285) were analyzed. The Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) was utilized to measure levels of psychological distress. Multivariate models including interactions between work schedule and race were used.


Results indicate that mothers working nonstandard schedules reported more psychological distress symptoms and overall psychological distress compared to mothers working standard schedules. Although race did not moderate the relationship between work schedule and psychological distress, we did find that black/African-American mothers reported less psychological distress compared to white participants.


Policy implications include collaboration between employers and local agencies to address disparate mental health outcomes based on shift work. Further research is needed to determine specific individual and community supports needed for impoverished working mothers.
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Keywords: African-American women; health disparities; mental health; poverty; psychological distress; work schedules

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2018

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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