Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 109, Issue 1, pp 27–34 | Cite as

Health of mothers of young children in Canada: identifying dimensions of inequality based on socio-economic position, partnership status, race, and region

Quantitative Research

Abstract

Objectives

Little is known about the nature of health inequalities present among women who are mothers of young children in Canada. Therefore, the purpose of the study is to identify dimensions of inequalities based on socio-economic position, race, partner status, and region and determine whether each type of inequality is independent of another.

Methods

Data are from the 2014 Canadian Community Health Survey. Women identifying as a parent living with a child ≤ 5 years, with complete data on the variables of interest, were selected (n = 2656). Poor health was defined as the presence of two or more chronic conditions. Exposures included partner status, education level, race, income, and region (Québec vs. rest of Canada). Logistic regression was used to estimate the odds of poor health according to each exposure unadjusted and adjusted for all other exposures. All analyses controlled for age and employment status.

Results

In the fully adjusted model, among mothers of young children, the odds of poor health were significantly higher among non-white identifying (OR = 1.72; 95% CI = 1.34–2.21) and lone mothers (OR = 1.80; 95% CI = 1.35–2.39), but were significantly lower among those with higher incomes (OR[per decile] = 0.86; 95% CI = 0.82–0.90) and those from Québec (vs. the rest of Canada; OR = 0.50; 95% CI = 0.38–0.67).

Conclusions

Living in Québec compared to elsewhere in Canada appears to protect against poor health among mothers of young children. Regardless of region, health inequalities exist by socio-economic position, race, and partnership status. These findings have implications for public health programs and policies, such as universal child care.

Keywords

Québec Maternal health Lone mothers Education level Income Social policy 

Résumé

Objectifs

On en sait peu sur la nature des inégalités de santé présentes chez les mères de jeunes enfants au Canada. C’est. pourquoi nous avons cherché à définir les formes d’inégalité fondées sur le statut socioéconomique, la race, l’état matrimonial ou civil et la région, et à déterminer si chaque forme d’inégalité est indépendante des autres.

Méthode

Nos données proviennent de l’Enquête sur la santé dans les collectivités canadiennes de 2014. Nous avons sélectionné les femmes qui s’identifiaient comme étant mères d’un enfant ≤ 5 ans et pour lesquelles il existait des données complètes sur les variables qui nous intéressaient (n = 2656). La mauvaise santé était définie comme la présence de deux états chroniques ou plus. Les expositions étaient l’état matrimonial ou civil, le niveau d’instruction, la race, le revenu et la région (Québec et reste du Canada). Nous avons estimé par régression logistique la probabilité d’une mauvaise santé selon chaque exposition, ajustée et non ajustée selon toutes les autres expositions. Toutes les analyses ont tenu compte de l’âge et de la situation d’emploi.

Résultats

Selon le modèle entièrement ajusté, chez les mères de jeunes enfants, la probabilité d’une mauvaise santé était sensiblement plus élevée chez les femmes s’identifiant comme étant de race autre que blanche (RC = 1,72; IC de 95% = 1,34–2,21) et chez les mères de familles monoparentales (RC = 1,80; IC de 95% = 1,35–2,39), mais elle était sensiblement plus faible chez les femmes ayant un revenu élevé (RC[par décile] = 0,86; IC de 95% = 0,82–0,90) et chez les Québécoises (par rapport aux femmes du reste du Canada; RC = 0,50; IC de 95% = 0,38–0,67).

Conclusions

Vivre au Québec et non ailleurs au Canada semble être un facteur de protection contre la mauvaise santé chez les mères de jeunes enfants. Sans égard à la région, les inégalités de santé se manifestent selon le statut socioéconomique, la race et l’état matrimonial ou civil. Ces constatations ont des conséquences pour les programmes et les politiques de santé publique comme les régimes universels de garde d’enfants.

Mots-clés

Québec Santé maternelle Mères de familles monoparentales Niveau d’instruction Revenu Politique sociale 

Notes

Acknowledgements

I would like to acknowledge the extremely useful feedback received from Dr. Peggy McDonough on earlier versions of this manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

41997_2018_38_MOESM1_ESM.docx (18 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 17 kb)

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lawrence Bloomberg Faculty of NursingUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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