School of Social and Political Sciences - Research Publications

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    Gender Equality and Health in High-Income Countries: A Systematic Review of Within-Country Indicators of Gender Equality in Relation to Health Outcomes.
    Milner, A ; Kavanagh, A ; Scovelle, AJ ; O'Neil, A ; Kalb, G ; Hewitt, B ; King, TL (Mary Ann Liebert, 2021)
    Background: Gender equality is recognized as an important political, social, and economic goal in many countries around the world. At a country level, there is evidence that gender equality may have an important influence on health. Historically gender equality has mainly been measured to allow for between-country, rather than within-country comparisons; and the association between gender equality and health outcomes within countries has been under-researched. This article thus aimed to systematically review within-country indicators of gender equality in public health studies and assess the extent to which these are related to health outcomes. Materials and Methods: We used the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) approach with two independent reviewers. Results: Data from the eight included studies revealed that there was heterogeneity in the way gender equality has been measured as a multidimensional construct. Associations between gender equality and a number of different health outcomes were apparent, including mortality, mental health, morbidity, alcohol consumption, and intimate partner violence, with gender equality mostly associated with better health outcomes. Conclusions: Further investigation into the effects of gender equality on health outcomes, including a clear conceptualization of terms, is critical for the development of policies and programs regarding gender equality.
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    Reordering gender systems: can COVID-19 lead to improved gender equality and health?
    King, T ; Hewitt, B ; Crammond, B ; Sutherland, G ; Maheen, H ; Kavanagh, A (Lancet, 2020-06-19)
    COVID-19 has delivered a shock to existing gender systems that could recalibrate gender roles, with beneficial effects on population health. The economic arrangements, policy frameworks, and market forces that determine the distribution of paid and unpaid labour across society are powerful structural determinants of health.1 The way that paid and unpaid labour is inequitably divided between men and women is central to the perpetuation of gender inequalities across the globe, and the ways that such divisions can be shifted or disrupted offer critical opportunities to modify the gender-differentiated effects of COVID-19 on health.
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    Young Mothers' Experiences of Receiving the Baby Bonus: A Qualitative Study
    Garrett, CC ; Keogh, L ; Hewitt, B ; Newton, DC ; Kavanagh, AM (ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2017-01-01)
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    Young maternal age at first birth and mental health later in life: Does the association vary by birth cohort?
    Aitken, Z ; Hewitt, B ; Keogh, L ; LaMontagne, AD ; Bentley, R ; Kavanagh, AM (PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD, 2016-05-01)
    BACKGROUND: It is well established that maternal age at childbirth has implications for women's mental health in the short term, however there has been little research regarding longer term implications and whether this association has changed over time. We investigated longer term mental health consequences for young mothers in Australia and contrasted the effects between three birth cohorts. METHODS: Using thirteen waves of data from 4262 women aged 40 years or above participating in the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey, we compared the mental health of women who had their first child aged 15-19 years, 20-24 years, and 25 years and older. Mental health was measured using the mental health component summary score of the SF-36. We used random-effects linear regression models to generate estimates of the association between age at first birth and mental health, adjusted for early life socioeconomic characteristics (country of birth, parents' employment status and occupation) and later life socioeconomic characteristics (education, employment, income, housing tenure, relationship status and social support). We examined whether the association changed over time, testing for effect modification across three successive birth cohorts. RESULTS: In models adjusted for early life and later life socioeconomic characteristics, there was strong evidence of an association between teenage births and poor mental health, with mental health scores on average 2.76 to 3.96 points lower for mothers aged younger than 20 years than for mothers aged 25 years and older (Late Baby Boom (born 1936-1945): -3.96, 95% CI -5.38, -2.54; Early Baby Boom (born 1946-1955): -3.01, 95% CI -4.32, -1.69; Lucky Few (born 1956-1965): -2.76, 95% CI -4.34, -1.18), and evidence of an association for mothers aged 20-24 years compared to mothers aged 25 years and older in the most recent birth cohort only (-1.09, 95% CI -2.01, -0.17). There was some indication (though weak) that the association increased in more recent cohorts. CONCLUSION: This study highlights that young mothers, and particularly teenage mothers, are a vulnerable group at high risk of poor mental health outcomes compared to mothers aged 25 years and above, and there was some suggestion (though weak) that the health disparities increased over time.