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Table 1 Variables used in the analysis

From: Influence maternal background has on children’s mental health

Variable role Definition and comments
Binary dependent variables Emotional symptoms. The five questions are: “Often complains of headaches, stomach-ache or sickness”; “Many worries, often seems worried”; “Often unhappy, down-hearted or tearful”; “Nervous or clingy in new situations, easily loses confidence”, and “Many fears, easily scared”. Valued as one if the points is four or more.
Behaviour problems. The five questions are: “Often has temper tantrums or hot tempers”; “Generally obedient, usually does what adults request”; “Often fights with other children or bullies them”; “Often lies or cheats”; and “Steals from home, school or elsewhere”. Valued as one if the punctuation is three or more.
Hyperactivity. The five questions are: “Restless, overactive, cannot stay still for long”; “Constantly fidgeting or squirming”; “Easily distracted, concentration wanders”; “Thinks things out before acting”; and “Sees tasks through to the end, good attention span”. Takes the value of one if the punctuation is six or more.
Peer problems. The five questions are: “Rather solitary, tends to play alone”; “Has at least one good friend”; “Generally liked by other children”; “Picked on or bullied by other children”; and “Gets on better with adults than with other children”. Takes the value one if the punctuation is three or more.
Prosocial behaviour. The five questions are: “Considerate of other people's feelings”; “Shares readily with other children (treats, toys, pencils, etc.)”; “Helpful if someone is hurt, upset or feeling ill”; “Kind to younger children”; and “Often volunteers to help others (parents, teachers, other children)”. As we analyse the antisocial behaviour, the variable takes the value of one if the punctuation is below six.
Main independent variables Maternal health variables: question on self-rated health (SRH) status in the last twelve months; depression, anxiety or other mental health disorders during the last twelve months; prescription for tranquilizers in the last two weeks; prescription for antidepressants during the last two weeks; Mental health index using the Goldberg Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) [43]; smoking behaviour categorised as smoker (reference category), occasional smoker, ex-smoker and non-smoker; hours of sleep; physical activity in the workplace categorised as sitting (reference category), standing up, walking and carrying things, or doing heavy tasks; BMI (WHO, 2016) categorized as: low and normal weight (BMI ≤ 25 kg/m2) (reference category), overweight (25 kg/m2 < BMI ≤ 30 kg/m2), obesity (BMI > 30 kg/m2) [44]. Both size and weight were reported by the individual; self-perception weight categorized as much more than normal (reference category), more than normal, normal and less than normal.
Maternal socioeconomic determinants: age groups (15–35 years (reference category), 36–45, 45–55, 56–65, 66–75); nationality categorised as Spanish (reference category), foreign and Spanish, and foreign; marital status categorised as single (reference category), married, widowed, separated and divorced; social class of the household reference person categorised as three groups: I-II class (reference category), III class and IV-V-VI class [40, 45]; educational level categorised into four groups: no studies (reference category), primary school, secondary school, and tertiary education; current activity categorised as employed (reference category), retired, studying, homemaker, short-term unemployed and long-term unemployed; whether the mother is the household reference person.
Household characteristics: number of children living in the household categorised as less than three (reference category), three or more than three; number of adults in the household (single parent, between three or four, more than four).
Covariates of the child Child health variables: question on SRH reported by the main respondent in the last twelve months; reported chronic conditions e.g. allergy, asthma, diabetes, tumour, epilepsy or other illness; restriction of activities in the previous two weeks; hours of sleep categorised as between eight and ten hours (reference category), less than eight, more than ten; physical activity habits categorised as no activity (reference category), occasionally, several times per month and several times per week; not having breakfast, eating fresh fruit more than three times per week; eating fast food more than three times per week; the mean of TV viewing hours watching or playing video games (separately) during the week and during the weekend (separately) categorised as none (reference category), less than three hours, between three and less than seven hours, seven hours or more; whether the child has been hospitalised in the previous year; number of GP visits during the last four weeks; number of specialist visits during the last four weeks; and BMI calculated dividing the weight in kilograms by the height in squared meters, and then using quintiles to better compare them [46].
Sociodemographic characteristics: region of residence (17 autonomous communities); sex; age; and age groups (4–7 years, 8–10, 11–14).