Study: Parental Stress Regarding Diaper Costs May Harm Children

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File photo of diapers. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

File photo of diapers. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

CBS Charlotte (con't)

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Health News & Information:

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (CBS Charlotte) – A new study has found that the stress experienced by parents who are trying to afford diapers for children could prove harmful – for the children.

The residual stress caused by trying to keep a supply of the costly item has been found to affect the mental health of kids, a release on PR Newswire states.

“Parental stress and depression can negatively impact children,” Dr. Megan Smith, the study’s lead author and an assistant professor at the Yale School of Medicine, was quoted as saying. “Many women who had trouble obtaining diapers also reported significant mental distress.”

She added, “Health care providers should recognize diapering [sic] difficulties as a serious issue and possibly an indicator of mental health need.”

Even while organizations such as diaperLove, based in Knoxville, Tenn., exist to “make diapers available to struggling families,” many are still having trouble affording them.

To gauge how the phenomenon impacts children, a partnership between Yale University and several state and local agencies called New Haven Mental Health Outreach for Mothers – known also as MOMS – surveyed 877 women with low incomes.

The poll was said to have looked into the relationship between financial stress in regards to affording basic needs, and reports mental illness. Researchers found that 30 percent of women said they were unable to afford an adequate amount of diapers, which resulted in difficulty managing stress and trauma, as well as depression.

“We knew that diaper need harms babies, who are prone to rashes or more serious infections when not changed frequently enough,” co-author Alison Weir, PhD, JD, said. “Our research raises concerns about the long-term impact. When parents have high levels of stress or depression, children are at greater risk for social, emotional and behavioral problems.”

According to the release, the study was published in the journal Pediatrics.

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