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Psychology - Community Psychology | American Journal of Community Psychology – incl. option to publish open access| Community Psychology | Springer (Press)

American Journal of Community Psychology

American Journal of Community Psychology

Editor-in-Chief: Jacob K. Tebes

ISSN: 0091-0562 (print version)
ISSN: 1573-2770 (electronic version)

Journal no. 10464

New York / Heidelberg, 15 October 2013

Pain of poverty sticks, despite support of neighbors or spouses

Support structures do little to ease depressive symptoms among mothers of low-income families

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Being married or having the support of neighbors to rely on does little to alleviate the symptoms of depression associated with economic hardship often experienced by poor mothers. With these findings, published in Springer’s American Journal of Community Psychology, Sharon Kingston of Dickinson College in the US challenges the growing perception that marriage and other forms of interpersonal support can buffer the negative effects of poverty.
In studying 1,957 mothers from 80 neighborhoods in Chicago, Kingston examined the combined effect of economic adversity and having interpersonal resources such as the support of family and friends, a spouse and a socially unified neighborhood to rely on. Participants were all part of the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods.
Kingston used household income, financial strain and the poverty levels of participants’ neighborhoods as measures of economic adversity. Financial strain measures the inability to afford necessities. Being unable to successfully provide needed resources to their children can be stressful to mothers. Likewise, the socio-economic status of a neighborhood can also be acutely stressful to them because of high levels of crime and poor quality recreation, school and childcare options.
She found that these all added to increased depressive symptoms among mothers. Not surprisingly, women with minor children who reported lower household incomes, higher levels of financial strain and who lived in low socio-economic neighborhoods reported more depressive symptoms than more affluent mothers. Being married was associated with fewer depressive symptoms than being single. However, marital status did little to alleviate symptoms of depression felt by mothers of poorer families.
Interestingly, Kingston found that even though women who received support from friends and family had fewer depressive symptoms, such relationships did not counter the effects of family income and financial strain.
“Risks related to economic adversity will in all likelihood not be mitigated by efforts to bolster interpersonal support such as marriage support programs targeted to low-income parents,” concludes Kingston. “Interventions that directly target economic conditions at the family or neighborhood level may be more likely to have positive effects on a mother’s well-being.”
Reference:
Kingston, S. (2013). Economic Adversity and Depressive Symptoms in Mothers: Do Marital Status and Perceived Social Support Matter? American Journal of Community Psychology, DOI 10.1007/s10464-013-9601-7
The full-text article is available to journalists on request.

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    The American Journal of Community Psychology publishes original quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research; theoretical papers; empirical reviews; reports of innovative community programs or policies; and first person accounts of stakeholders involved in research, programs, or policy. The journal encourages submissions of innovative multi-level research and interventions, and encourages international submissions. The journal also encourages the submission of manuscripts concerned with underrepresented populations and issues of human diversity.

    The American Journal of Community Psychology publishes research, theory, and descriptions of innovative interventions on a wide range of topics, including, but not limited to: individual, family, peer, and community mental health, physical health, and substance use; risk and protective factors for health and well being; educational, legal, and work environment processes, policies, and opportunities; social ecological approaches, including the interplay of individual family, peer, institutional, neighborhood, and community processes; social welfare, social justice, and human rights; social problems and social change; program, system, and policy evaluations; and, understanding people within their social, cultural, economic, geographic, and historical contexts.

    Contributions are welcome in such as areas as: the prevention of problems in living and the prevention of behavioral health disorders; the promotion of competence, resilience, well-being, and health; the design, implementation, and evaluation of community-based interventions; self- and mutual help; the empowerment of individuals, groups, and communities as well as historically disenfranchised groups; collective social action; oppression and human liberation; social network analysis and mobilization; advocacy and coalition-building; community organizing; organizational development, community development, and institutional development; consultation and technical assistance; community education; professional training; social change and systems reform; and community-based participatory research, collaborative research, and interdisciplinary research.

    The American Journal of Community Psychology is a publication of the Society for Community Research and Action: The Division of Community Psychology of the American Psychological Association.

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