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The Stress of a Single Mom's Job Loss Falls on Kids, Too

Mother Suffering From Post Natal Depression
Photograph by Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getting laid off from a job is a hard truth in today's economy. For parents, not only do you face a blow to your self-esteem, but your household income takes a hit, too. Putting food on the table is even tougher.

For single moms, though, the loss isn't just felt at the dinner table, the whole family feels the pressure, a new study says.

Researchers at the California Center for Population Research at UCLA analyzed data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and found that children whose mothers were laid off had trouble later in life, including graduating from high school. In addition, the study noted that the kids also coped with depression into their 20s and were less likely to ultimately graduate from college.

Researchers reported that children who were old enough—between 12 and 17—to understand what happened to their moms, experienced more pronounced effects on their health, both mentally and physically. The belief is that they were more aware of the situation and were therefore prone to feel shame or societal stigma.

But the effects don't stop with just the children of unemployed moms; a study co-author noted that we could see this trend spread across multiple generations. "The kids, by virtue of having less education and having some social psychological issues, could themselves be at greater risk of job loss in the future. That’s a concern, too, that we could potentially see an inter-generational transmission of job instability,” the UCLA center associate director noted.

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