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Heather Hill, Jennifer Otten, and Noah Seixas Find High Rates of Depression Among Child Care Workers

Posted: 7/17/2019 (CSDE Research)

CSDE Affiliates Heather Hill, Associate Professor at the Evans School of Public Policy, Jennifer Otten, Associate Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, and Noah Seixas, Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, examine the health of child care workers in a recent Health Affairs article. This research, recently featured in KNKX, is part of a multi-year study examining the effects of minimum wage increases on the health of childcare workers.

The authors describe the health and well-being of a sample of early care and education workers. Their data and analyses show that early care and education workers earn low wages, experience poor mental well-being, and high rates of food insecurity.

According to Hill, 40% of participants show clinically significant levels of depression, double what you typically find for women with low incomes and about four times what you find for women overall. Hill said possible reasons for the high rates of depression emerged in focus groups. “They describe the jobs as extremely stressful, extremely demanding, but with very low status and a lot of what’s experienced as disrespect from both parents and society more generally.”




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