Unemployment Among Separated Mothers’ and Children’s Mental Health Trajectories
Mine Kühn1, Anna Baranowska-Rataj2, Niina Metsä-Simola3, Liina Junna3, Pekka Martikainen3
1Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, 2Umeå University, 3University of Helsinki

The effects of unemployment on health of family members have received growing attention. However, previous research has so far focused on families where children are raised by couples. This paper studies the effects of unemployment experienced by separated mothers on their adolescent children’s mental health. We use data from a large, register-based panel of Finnish adolescents aged 15-21 years in 1995-2018 (n=202,665). We employ panel regression techniques to reveal how changes in maternal employment status are related to changes in offspring's mental health, net of observed and unobserved confounders. Preliminary findings show clear patterns of higher prevalence in psychotropic medication purchase for those who were exposed to maternal unemployment than for those who have not experienced maternal unemployment. The results also demonstrate a consistent pattern of gender differences with substantially higher prevalence in purchases among girls than boys and suggest that girls may suffer more from maternal unemployment than boys.