The effects of the Family Stress Model on child mental heatlh

Date
2013-01-01
Authors
Crowder, Kelsey
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Abstract

According to recent U.S. Census data, 46.2 million Americans live in poverty (Census, 2010). Research indicates that economic hardship has an adverse effect on the well-being of parents and children. The Family Stress Model posits that economic hardship within the family leads to certain economic pressures. These economic pressures lead to an increase in parental emotional distress, which can cause a strain on the marital relationship. This, in turn, leads to low nurturing and uninvolved parenting which disrupts developmental outcomes for children and adolescents (Conger, Conger, & Elder Jr., 1997). The present investigation utilized data from the Family Transitions project in order to examine the effects of the Family Stress Model on five specific childhood mental health disorders which include: Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Conduct Disorder, Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Results indicate that the pathways of the Family Stress Model as experienced when children were in early childhood predicted child mental health disorders when these same children were in late childhood. These findings are important as they contribute to our understanding of the effects that living in economically difficult times have on later childhood development.

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