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Mental health status among rural women of reproductive age: Findings from the central Pennsylvania Womens Health Study

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Hillemeier, Marianne M., C.S. Weisman, G.A. Chase, and A.M. Dyer. 2008. "Mental health status among rural women of reproductive age: Findings from the central Pennsylvania Womens Health Study." American Journal of Public Health, 98(7): 1271-1279.

Objectives. We sought to examine variables associated with mental health among rural women of reproductive age, with particular attention given to rural area type and farm residence. Methods. We analyzed data from the Central Pennsylvania Women's Health Study, which included a random-digit-dialed survey of women aged 18 to 45 years. Hierarchical multiple linear and logistic regression models were estimated to predict 3 mental health outcomes: score on a mental health measure, depressive symptoms, and diagnosed depression or anxiety. Results. Mental health outcomes were associated with different factors. Farm residence was associated with higher mental health score, and the most isolated rural residence was associated with less diagnosed depression or anxiety. Elevated psychosocial stress was consistently significant across all models. A key stress modifier, self-esteem, was also consistently significant across models. Other variables associated with 2 of the outcomes were intimate partner violence exposure and affectionate social support. Conclusions. Farm residence may be protective of general mental health for women of reproductive age, and residence in isolated rural areas may decrease access to mental health screening and treatment, resulting in fewer diagnoses of depression or anxiety.

DOI:10.2105/ajph.2006.107771 (Full Text)

PMCID: PMC2424076. (Pub Med Central)

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