The effect of social work use on the mental health outcomes of parents and the life satisfaction of children in Britain

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

November 15, 2015


This article examines how parental mental health, and in turn children's well-being is related to receiving social work interventions. Using data from the British Household Panel Survey we examine factors predicting the likelihood of parental social work use; whether transitions into social work use is associated with an improvement of mental health outcomes of those parents who receive it; and whether parental social work use enhances their children's well-being. Taking advantage of panel data modelling techniques, we use random and fixed effects models to account for the unobserved individual characteristics. The findings indicate that poor health, disability, having more children in household, not being married and more than 35h of caring responsibilities are all associated with an increase in the likelihood of parental social work use. Furthermore we find that parents who use a social worker report worse mental health outcomes for themselves, and poorer well-being for their children, than those who do not. Possible explanations for these findings are discussed as well as implications for policy makers.

Published in

Children and Youth Services Review

Volume and page numbers

Volume: 58 , p.71 -81






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