Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology

Committee Chair(s)

E. Helen Berry


E. Helen Berry


Gabriele Ciciurkaite


Jennifer Givens


Health disparities exist between rural and urban areas but geographic comparisons of mental health are less studied and conclusive. Maternal depression has not been examined by region or rurality in the United States but might be influenced by geographic locations due to the variance of social support and healthcare available in some locations compared to others. The research focuses on (1) whether rurality increases a mother’s risk of experiencing depression and (2) if region impacts a mother’s risk of depression. I used the NESARC-III data that included three general depressive disorders: major depressive episode, major depressive disorder, and dysthymia. Regions are divided into the Northeast, Midwest, South, and the West. Rurality includes rural and urban locations. Certain demographic variables are included to control for variations by location. The research is a secondary analysis of the NESARC-III data so the research costs are limited. The statistical analysis uses step-wise logistic regression models.

The study finds that mothers do not experience depressive disorders differently between regions or rural/urban locations. A check analyzing all females shows that living in the West increases a woman’s risk of experiencing both major depressive episodes and major depressive disorders. Variables explaining the most variation between having and not having a depressive disorder are the social support variables.



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