Maternal depressive symptoms and young people’s higher education participation and choice of university: evidence from a longitudinal cohort study

Sally Bowman, Tim Morris, Matt Dickson, Frances Rice, Laura D. Howe, Amanda M. Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction
Participation in higher education has significant and long-lasting consequences for people’s socioeconomic trajectories. Maternal depression is linked to poorer educational achievement for children in school, but its impact on university attendance is unclear.
Methods
In an English longitudinal cohort study (N=8952), we explore whether young people whose mothers experienced elevated depressive symptoms are less likely to study at university, and the role of potential mediators in the young person: educational achievement in school, depressive symptoms, and locus of control. We also examine whether maternal depressive symptoms influence young people’s choice of university, and non-attendees’ reasons for not participating in higher education.
Results
Young people whose mothers experienced more recurrent depressive symptoms were less likely to attend university (OR=0.88, CI:0.82,0.94, pLimitations
Lack of data on co-parental depression, loss to follow-up and possibly selective non- response.
Conclusions
Young people whose mothers experience elevated depressive symptoms on multiple occasions are less likely to participate in higher education, and educational achievement in secondary school substantially mediated the effect. Support for affected children should begin early to mitigate inequalities related to maternal depression.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-346
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Volume344
Early online date16 Oct 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2024

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