Housing constraints and adjustment behaviors of vulnerable households

Bruin, Marilyn
Major Professor
Christine C. Cook
Mary Winter
Committee Member
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Human Development and Family Studies

Three papers examine residential satisfaction, housing quality, and reported change in residential quality for households headed by single-parent women or divorced parents. Families headed by single or remarried parents are vulnerable to housing problems in that they are more likely than nuclear families to have low levels of economic resources and unmet housing needs. Three separate analyses of different data sets add to the understanding of the housing adjustment behaviors of households with non-normative family structures;The first paper reports the operationalization and testing of measures of personality characteristics to predict housing and neighborhood satisfaction. The results suggest that personality characteristics are powerful of housing satisfaction;The second paper reports comparisons of the background, income, housing, and location characteristics of households headed by white, African-American, and Hispanic single-parent women. The characteristics are included in models to predict three measures of housing quality: crowding; cost; and satisfaction. The findings suggest important differences and similarities in the factors that precipitate housing quality problems for the three groups. White, single-parent women are better housed than their African-American or Hispanic counterparts. Hispanic, single-parent women have the largest housing cost burdens and persons per household; African-American single mothers are twice as likely as members of the other reference groups to live in low-quality housing and report the lowest average level of housing satisfaction;The final paper focuses on divorced parents who owned a house before divorce. Socio-demographic characteristics, self-efficacy, legal characteristics of divorce, and current tenure status are included in a structural equations model to predict the outcomes of divorce and reported change in quality of life. The results suggest custody of children and possession of the marital home separately predict improvement in reported change in quality of life. However, when the responsibilities of custody of children is combined with possession of the marital home, there is a negative relationship with reported change in equality of life.