Single parent mothers and mental health care service use

  • John Cairney
  • Terrance J. Wade


Background This paper examines the use of mental health care services by single mothers and married mothers in Canada. Method We employ a secondary data analysis of the 1994–95 National Population Health Survey. Results Single mothers are significantly more likely to have seen a professional regarding their mental health in the previous 12 months and to use such services more frequently than married mothers. Multivariate analyses show that higher use among single mothers is independent of depression and sociodemographic factors. Further analysis revealed that single mothers have a higher rate of contact with professionals than married mothers and that the relationship between single parent status and frequency of contact is moderated by depression. Conclusion Single mothers are more likely to seek professional help for mental health issues. While qualifying for a diagnosis has some important conditional effects on the frequency of use among single mothers, neither major depression nor controlling for sociodemographic factors accounts for their higher use of services.

Key words single mothers – depression – mental health care utilization 


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Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Cairney
    • 1
  • Terrance J. Wade
    • 2
  1. 1.Canadian Centre for Studies of Children at Risk, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neuroscience, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada and the Department of Community Health Sciences, Brock University, St. Catharines, CanadaCA
  2. 2.Institute for Health Policy and Health Services Research and the Department of Psychiatry, University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Cincinnati, USAUS

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