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Impacts of Child Development Accounts on maternal depressive symptoms: Evidence from a randomized statewide policy experiment

November 2013

Jin Huang, Michael Sherraden, Jason Q. Purnell


This randomized trial analyzes the effect Child Development Accounts (long-term investment accounts) have on mother’s depression. Primary caregivers of children in Oklahoma were randomly selected to be offered a Child Development Account as part of the College Savings Plan. Those parents whose children had Development accounts were highly correlated with higher levels of savings and statistically significant lower levels of depression. Children with accounts exhibited higher levels of social-motional development. These results were stronger in families with lower levels of income and education.

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Policy Implications

This experiment implies that one avenue to improve mental health may be to ease the financial burden of raising children. Such a policy should increase the likelihood of depositing savings into investment accounts, while increasing the mental health of the parent and emotional development of the child.

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