Article

Poverty and the Distribution of Material Hardship

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Abstract

Public concern with poverty derives in large part from the assumption that low income families cannot afford necessities. Yet official poverty statistics focus on measuring income, not on measuring material hardship. Two surveys of Chicago residents measure whether families could afford food, housing and medical care. A family's official income-to-needs ratio explained 24 percent of the variance in the amount of material hardship it reported. Adjustments for family size, age, health, noncash benefits, home ownership, and access to credit explain another 15 percent. Variations in permanent income explain almost none of the remaining variance in hardship. Among families with the same official income-to-needs ratio, material hardship varies by age, family size and composition.

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... Much like the U.S. government's income-based poverty index, child development researchers have opted to capture these experiences of unmet needs through self-reported income-based indicators (Hauser, 1994), often supplementing this information with additional information about a family's eligibility for free or reduced lunch, parental education, income-to-needs ratio and parental job status. Some researchers studying measures of material hardship have attempted to create indices of deprivation (Bauman, 2002;Beverly, 2001;Callan, Nolan, & Whelan, 1993;Mayer & Jencks, 1989). These indices share some similarities: 1) they all define hardship in terms of direct measures of families' experiences and their actual living conditions, and 2) they all include a core set of basic needs and food security indicators. ...
... These indices share some similarities: 1) they all define hardship in terms of direct measures of families' experiences and their actual living conditions, and 2) they all include a core set of basic needs and food security indicators. Some methodological work seems to support this approach (Bauman, 2002;Mayer & Jencks, 1989), but this research is preliminary, and the question remains whether it is valid to treat all indicators of material hardship in a unified way (Ouellette, Burstein, Long, & Beecroft, 2004). This lack of consensus of an operational definition for material hardship makes comparing findings across studies challenging. ...
... Although findings are mixed when evaluating the association between material hardship and a family's level of income in the U.S., with direction depending on how poverty is coded (r= -.07; Ashiabi & O'Neal, 2007). Other studies estimate that income level explains about 14% of the variation in the number of material hardships a family reports, while an income-to-needs ratio (which accounts for the division of available resources among the family; McLoyd, 1998) can explain up to 23.6% of the variance of the total number of material hardships reported (Mayer & Jencks, 1989). Nonetheless, the expected likelihood that low-income families experience more material hardship due to a reduced capacity to meet their needs is a consistent finding in the literature relative to higher income families (Levy, 2015). ...
Thesis
Experiencing poverty during childhood may prompt experience-dependent neural adaptations. These manifest through functional connectivity patterns across networks thought to support cognitive and socio-emotional processing. Interrelated network connectivity disruptions have been associated with the development of internalizing disorders. Connectome-wide network characterizations of functional connectivity in adolescents who grew up in poverty are lacking. To this end, this dissertation aimed to characterize the association between family material hardship, connectome-wide network connectivity and internalizing symptoms in adolescence. The introductory chapter proposes material hardship, which directly measures a family's experiences with unmet basic needs (e.g., no access to food) as a better alternative to income-based measures used in research. Subsequently, in Chapters Two and Three, network contingency analyses were conducted to characterize connectome-wide connectivity associated with lifetime family material hardship for adolescents drawn from a national longitudinal study. Correlational analyses evaluating the association between network connectivity and current adolescent internalizing symptoms were done. Notably, the mixed findings across the two studies suggest that connectome-wide adaptations confer both cost and benefits to youth who experienced material hardship. Data suggests that altered network connectivity may be protective and that not everyone who experiences material hardship develops internalizing symptoms. In the final chapter, the limitations and implications of the present findings are discussed. Recommendations for more multi-method research to better characterize the association between brain function and poverty are made.
... In the past 30 years, material hardship has emerged as a direct measure of the fundamental problem of deprivation (the experience of want in terms of basic needs) in the United States (Beverly, 2001;Mayer & Jencks, 1989). This is in contrast to longstanding practices in both policymaking and research, which have tended to favor income poverty as a proximate, but still indirect, measure of deprivation. ...
... Although material hardship and income poverty are associated with one another, multiple assessments of their relationship have demonstrated the two constructs are markedly different (Dhongde & Haveman, 2015;Gershoff et al., 2007;Short, 2005;Sullivan et al., 2008). Indeed, the relatively weak correlations between material hardship and income poverty (correlations in the range of .18-.40 for both individual hardships and index measures) are strong evidence that income poverty does not universally predict experiences of deprivation (Mayer & Jencks, 1989;Rodems & Shaefer, 2020;Schenck-Fontaine & Panico, 2019;Short, 2005;Sullivan et al., 2008). In directly measuring families' inability to meet basic needs, material hardship is an important complement to income poverty. ...
... Existing research has attended with care to articulating, testing, and refining definitions and some measures of material hardship, although work in this area has been limited to a handful of previous studies (Beverly, 2001;Carle et al., 2009;Mayer & Jencks, 1989;Short, 2005). Researchers have conceptualized material hardship as the inability to meet basic material needs, measured in a variety of different ways over different studies (Carle et al., 2009;Gershoff et al., 2007;Mayer & Jencks, 1989). ...
Article
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Material hardship has emerged as a direct measure of deprivation in the United States and an important complement to income poverty, providing different evidence about the ways in which deprivation may affect wellbeing. This study addresses gaps in our knowledge about deprivation as the first to examine patterns of material hardship over time. Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Well-Being Study, this study examined five material hardship types (food, housing, medical, utility, and bill-paying) experienced at five timepoints over 15 years. Employing latent class analysis and latent transition analysis, this study identified six longitudinal patterns of material hardship experience, characterized by trajectories of stability or movement and relative severity of material hardship experience over time. These findings improve our conceptual understanding of deprivation and move us towards understanding the impacts of material hardship on wellbeing and identifying policy approaches to prevent deprivation or mitigate negative consequences.
... Income in and of itself is thus a proxy for a household's ability to acquire these goods and (Mayer and Jencks 1989). A family's place respective of the official poverty line and their experiences of concrete material deprivation such as hunger and housing instability had a surprisingly small overlap. ...
... Compared to income-based measures of poverty, material hardship has remained a niche measure in part due to data limitations. Material hardship questions in the vein of Mayer and Jencks (1989) do not appear regularly on any national survey. They do appear sporadically as special topical modules to the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) and have appeared in targeted surveys such as the Women's Employment Survey (Danziger, Sandra K. et al. 2000;Sullivan, Turner, and Danziger 2008) and in qualitative work (e.g. ...
... The way in which I summarize these measures is in the tradition of Mayer and Jencks (1989) with a simple, nonweighted index. This approach is fully transparent in that it does not involve any subjective judgment calls by the researcher as to which hardships are more impactful and it is easily interpretable (eg 0= no hardships, 1=one hardship, 2=two hardships etc). ...
Thesis
Who is poor? For decades, the Official Poverty Measure largely answered this question. Using measures of material hardship in the Survey of Income and Program Participation, it is clear that concrete material hardships extend far above the federal poverty line. 18% of all households experience this hidden material hardship above the poverty line, largely ignored by policy makers, ineligible for social assistance programs, and obscured by conventional poverty measures themselves. The duration of spells of material hardship indicate that a far larger proportion of the population is at risk of hardship than is commonly thought. Over a third of households experience either chronic or episodic hardship, compared the fifth of households in chronic or episodic poverty. Racial disparities in the experience of material hardship are stark. Even when taking other demographic factors and wealth into account, the risk of experiencing material hardship for a white household earning $50,000 a year is similar to a black household that earns $125,000. A white household with a head who has a high school diploma has the same predicted probability of experiencing material hardship as a black household with head who has a bachelor’s degree. The events and shocks that trigger entry into, and exit from, a spell of hardship display similar racial disparities. The main implication of these findings is that the current social safety net does not address the vast majority of households in material hardship, nor is it capable of doing so in its current configuration.
... Importantly, statistical mediation does not prove causation, but identifying statistical mediators may inform future, experimental studies on the mechanisms linking income and poor outcomes. Possible mediators between income and subcortical volumes include environmental adversities that might vary with income such as material hardship (unmet basic needs; Mayer & Jencks, 1989), and parental distress (Goosby, 2007). ...
... At each timepoint, mothers participated in a structured interview that included questions about environmental adversities. Potential mediators included material hardship (Mayer & Jencks, 1989) and two measures of maternal psychological distress: demoralization (Dohrenwend et al., 1980) and perceived stress (Cohen et al., 1994). A timeline of data collection (Table S1) is presented in the Supporting Information. ...
Article
It is well known that financial disadvantage is associated with alterations in brain development in regions critical to socioemotional well‐being such as the hippocampus and the amygdala. Yet little is known about whether family income at different points in development is differentially associated with these structures. Furthermore, little is known about which environmental factors statistically mediate associations between income and subcortical structure. Using a longitudinal birth cohort and linear mixed‐effects models, we identified associations between income‐to‐needs ratio (INR) at 6 timepoints throughout childhood and hippocampal and amygdala volumes at age 7–9 years (n = 41; 236 INR measurements; 41 brain measurements). Mediation analysis identified environmental sequelae of income that statistically accounted for INR–brain associations. Lower INR prior to age 4 was associated with smaller hippocampal volumes, whereas lower INR prior to age 2 was associated with smaller right amygdala volume. These associations were mediated by unmet basic needs (e.g., food, housing). These findings delineate the temporal specificity of associations between income and hippocampal and amygdala structures.
... The concept of material hardship may help us understand the mechanisms through which economic disadvantage creates barriers to effective contraceptive use. Material hardship operationalizes the idea of poverty as unmet needs by measuring the extent to which families are able to secure basic necessities (Mayer and Jencks 1989). Material hardships occur when families lack the resources to meet their needs and thus face material deprivation, such as a utility shutoff, insufficient food, or pawning belongings to make ends meet. ...
... Although income and poverty status measure only economic resources, material hardship reveals how varying financial and family contexts can result in similar constraints and deprivations. Scholars have shown that hardship and poverty status are only moderately correlated, indicating that even though some poor families are able to meet their needs-often through social assistance programs that provide food and housing essentials-even nonpoor families can face demands exceeding their resources (Iceland and Baurman 2007;Mayer and Jencks 1989). Recent work from Schenck-Fontaine and Panico (2019) demonstrated the importance of investigating different manifestations of economic security, documenting the different effects that income poverty, material deprivation, and financial stress-both alone and in combination-have on children's behavioral outcomes. ...
Article
Decades of research have attempted to understand the paradox of stubbornly high unintended pregnancy rates despite widespread use of contraception. Much of this research has focused on socioeconomic disparities in rates of unintended pregnancy, finding that economically disadvantaged women tend to use less effective contraceptive methods and use them less consistently. Building on this research, this study examines how material hardship is associated with less consistent contraceptive use among women who do not desire to become pregnant. Using the Relationship Dynamics and Social Life (RDSL) Study, a weekly longitudinal survey, I find lower levels of contraceptive use and less consistent use of contraception among women experiencing material hardship, relative to those without hardship experiences. I also investigate the extent to which this association is explained by access barriers and lower contraceptive efficacy among women experiencing hardship. Using structural equation modeling, I find that these mediators significantly explain the relationship between hardship and risky contraceptive behaviors, suggesting that hardship creates mental and resource constraints that impede successful implementation of contraception. However, net of these mediators, material hardship remains associated with riskier contraceptive behaviors among young women, calling for further research on how hardship exposes women to greater risk of unintended pregnancies.
... Importantly, statistical mediation does not prove causation, but identifying statistical mediators may inform future, experimental studies on the mechanisms linking income and poor outcomes. Possible mediators between income and subcortical volumes include environmental adversities that might vary with income such as material hardship (unmet basic needs; Mayer & Jencks, 1989), and parental distress (Goosby, 2007). ...
... At each timepoint, mothers participated in a structured interview that included questions about environmental adversities. Potential mediators included material hardship (Mayer & Jencks, 1989) and two measures of maternal psychological distress: demoralization (Dohrenwend et al., 1980) and perceived stress (Cohen et al., 1994). A timeline of data collection (Table S1) is presented in the Supporting Information. ...
Article
Background: Excessive environmental noise exposure and noise annoyance have been linked to adverse physical and mental health outcomes. Although socioeconomic disparities in acoustically measured and geospatially estimated noise have been established, less is known about disparities in noise complaints, one of the most common sources of distress reported to local municipalities. Furthermore, although some studies have posited urban quieting during the COVID-19 pandemic, little empirical work has probed this and probed noise complaints during the pandemic. Objectives: Using over 4 million noise complaints from the New York City (NYC) 311 database, we quantified census tract-level socioeconomic disparities in noise complaints since 2010 and examined how such disparities changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: Using data from January 2010 through February 2020, we fit linear mixed-effects models, estimating monthly tract-level noise complaints by the proportion of residents who were low-income, time in months since January 2010, categorical month, their interactions, and potential confounds, such as total population and population density. To estimate COVID-19 pandemic effects, we included additional data from March 2020 through February 2021 and additional interactions between proportion low-income, month of year, and an indicator variable for COVID-19 pandemic onset in March 2020. Results: Census tracts with a higher proportion of low-income residents reported more monthly noise complaints and this increased over time (time × month × proportion low-income interaction p-values < .0001 for all months), particularly in warmer months. Socioeconomic disparities in noise complaints were exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic (month × proportion low-income × pandemic era interaction p-values < .0001 for March through November), also in a seasonal manner. Discussion: Since 2010, noise complaints have increased the most in the most economically distressed communities, particularly in warmer seasons. This disparity was particularly exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic, contrary to some theories of urban quieting. Community-based interventions to ameliorate noise and noise annoyance, both public health hazards, are needed in underserved communities.
... Material hardship captures the lived conditions of economic hardship and refers to difficulty affording basic resources, such as food, housing, utilities, and health care (Mayer & Jencks, 1989). ...
... The goals of this study were to examine associations among material hardship, core components of PFC-amygdala circuitry underlying emotion processing and regulation (UNC microstructure, medial OFC surface area, amygdala volume), and internalizing symptoms in children, and whether these indices of PFC-amygdala structure mediated associations between material hardship and internalizing symptoms. Material hardship refers to difficulty affording basic necessities, such as food and housing, capturing the lived conditions of economic hardship (Mayer & Jencks, 1989;Schenck-Fontaine & Panico, 2019). Findings indicated that greater material hardship was significantly associated with higher internalizing symptoms in children, replicating past work (Sun et al., 2015;Zilanawala & Pilkauskas, 2012). ...
Article
Material hardship, or difficulty affording basic resources such as food, housing, utilities, and health care, increases children's risk for internalizing problems. The uncinate fasciculus (UNC) and two of the gray matter regions it connects—the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) and amygdala—may play important roles in the neural mechanisms underlying these associations. We investigated associations among material hardship, UNC microstructure, OFC and amygdala structure, and internalizing symptoms in children. Participants were 5–9‐year‐old children (N = 94, 61% female) from socioeconomically diverse families. Parents completed questionnaires assessing material hardship and children's internalizing symptoms. High‐resolution, T1‐weighted magnetic resonance imaging (n = 51), and diffusion tensor imaging (n = 58) data were acquired. UNC fractional anisotropy (FA), medial OFC surface area, and amygdala gray matter volume were extracted. Greater material hardship was significantly associated with lower UNC FA, smaller amygdala volume, and higher internalizing symptoms in children, after controlling for age, sex, and family income‐to‐needs ratio. Lower UNC FA significantly mediated the association between material hardship and internalizing symptoms in girls but not boys. These findings are consistent with the notion that material hardship may lead to altered white matter microstructure and gray matter structure in neural networks critical to emotion processing and regulation.
... We estimated socioeconomic status using the mother's reported income and educational attainment. We assessed financial strain based on an approach utilized by (Beck et al., 2014;Danziger et al., 2000;Mayer & Jencks, 1989), comprising previously validated questions regarding participants' home ownership, car ownership, food insecurity, and ability to make ends meet, pay rent, find work, and get a loan from friends/family (Ouellette et al., 2004). We assessed social strain using questions from Sampson's measure of collective efficacy (Sampson et al., 2002). ...
Article
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Residential relocation (RR) is associated with behavior problems and cognitive delays in school-age children. Little is known regarding effects of RR on early childhood development. The data from this study were collected from 2011 to 2016 through the Cincinnati Home Injury Prevention and Literacy Promotion Trial. The purpose of the current study was to identify factors associated with RR and determine effects of RR on early childhood development in a cohort of mother/child dyads (n = 424). High RR was relocating ≥ 3 times over the 24-month study period. Differences in baseline characteristics and early childhood development, measured by the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) and MacArthur Bates Communicative Development Inventory, according to relocations, were estimated by negative binomial regression and logistic regression, respectively. Participants moved on average 1.46 times over 24 months. Relocations decreased by 0.05 for each year of increasing maternal age. Mothers with college degrees moved 0.72 fewer times than those with a high school diploma or less. Mothers living alone moved 0.47 fewer times than their counterparts. Mothers who could not count on someone to loan them $1000 and those with food insecurity more (0.41) than their counterparts (0.50). Odds of scoring in the bottom-tertile for the communication domain of the ASQ was significantly higher in those relocating ≥ 3 times. High RR was associated with concern for delayed language development at 24-month follow-up in some, but not all models. Early intervention may be more successful if primary care physicians and community health professionals collaborate to link families at risk of high RR to relevant community based resources.
... For example, "Have you heard about the Earned Income Tax Credit before?" and "As part of filling out your federal tax return the last time, did you fill out a special form to claim the Earned Income Credit, called Schedule EIC?" To assess protective factors, we will use the FRIENDS National Resource Center Protective Factors Survey (FRIENDS National Resource Center for Community Based Child Abuse Prevention, 2011), which is a 20-item survey with Likert-based scales assessing various dimensions of protective factors within families, including family functioning and resilience, social support, concrete support, nurturing and attachment, and knowledge of parenting/child development. We will assess economic hardship using an eight-item Likert scale questionnaire called the material hardship questionnaire (Mayer & Jencks, 1989). Child maltreatment will be assessed using the Brief Child Abuse Potential Inventory (Milner, 1986), a 33-item Likert scale questionnaire and the five-item neglect subscale of the Parent-Child Conflict Tactics Scale (Straus et al., 1998). ...
Article
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EITC has positive impacts, including reduced mental health problems and stress, on parents and caregivers. These impacts also affect children. Notably, EITC is associated with decreased child maltreatment (Berger et al. Review of Economics of the Household, 15(4), 1345–1372, 2017; Biehl & Hill, 2018; Klevens et al. Public Health Reports (1974), 132(4), 505–511, 2017; Rostad et al. Child Maltreatment, 25(4), 393–397, 2020). In addition, in a study of financial literacy among IPV survivors, it was found that knowledge of EITC was limited (Postmus, 2011). Unfortunately, one in five families eligible for EITC does not receive it (Internal Revenue Service, 2019). The EITC Access Project involves a two-level strategy across 43 counties in the State of Michigan. Level 1 is a public health strategy, which includes culturally appropriate flyers and informational materials regarding EITC. Level 2 includes the community-education strategy but also includes one-on-one concentrated benefits advocacy. The benefits advocacy is layered into existing Parents As Teachers home visiting programs and involves motivational interviewing techniques, EITC information, and financial empowerment activities. Outcomes are expected to influence the provision of community education surrounding public benefits and the practice of home visiting. This manuscript describes the goals, objectives, and evaluation plan of the EITC Access Project.
... Poverty thresholds are updated yearly using the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and vary by family size and age of members living in a given household. In the late twentieth Century, economic deprivation scholarship began to show that the use of absolute measures of poverty may be unable to capture whether families can meet basic needs [61,62]. At the time, people were spending closer to one-seventh of their income on food, as opposed to one-third. ...
Article
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Background Despite increased attention on the links between poverty and the health and wellbeing of youth, few have attempted to understand the physiological consequences associated with different forms of economic disadvantage among Latina/o children. The present study begins to address this gap by (1) examining whether different forms of economic disadvantage were related to telomere length for Latina/o children and (2) determining whether parents’ nativity shapes economic disadvantage-telomere length relationships.Methods Data were drawn from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, a longitudinal, stratified multistage probability sample of couples and children in 20 large US cities. The sample consisted of 417 Latina/o children and their parents that were followed from birth to age 9. Ordinary least squares regressions were used to examine relationships between economic disadvantage and telomere length.ResultsFindings revealed that poverty status was not significantly related to telomere length, whereas some forms of material hardship were shown to play a role in the risk of premature cellular aging. More specifically, medical hardship and difficulty paying bills were associated with shorter telomere length at age 9. Results also provide minimal evidence economic disadvantage-telomere length patterns varied by parents’ nativity. Only medical hardship was related to shorter telomere length at age 9 for children with at least one foreign-born parent.Conclusion Overall, results indicate that the risk of premature cellular aging depends on the measure of economic disadvantage under investigation. Findings from this study can inform targeted strategies designed to reduce the deleterious consequences associated with economic deprivation.
... Financial insecurity is clearly illustrated when households experience material hardship -difficulty meeting basic needs such as food and housing (Beverly, 2001). Not surprisingly, income and material hardship are strongly related (Heflin, 2014;Mayer & Jencks, 1989;Mimura, 2008;Siebens, 2013). The incidence of material hardship was 36% among households in the lowest income quintile compared to 29% and 21% of households in the next two highest quintiles (Siebens, 2013). ...
Article
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Lower income households are at risk for material hardship, particularly amidst the economic fallout of COVID-19. Where one lives (e.g., suburb, small town) may affect this risk due to variable access to resources, yet the evidence is mixed concerning the influence of place. We used a pooled, national cross-sectional sample of 66,046 lower-income tax filers to examine differences in material hardship in rural, small town, micropolitan, and urban areas. Controlling only for standard demographic variables, hardship risk appears higher in non-urban areas, yet these differences disappear after controlling for financial characteristics such as liquid assets and home ownership.
... Scores ≥10 indicated depression (31). Information on material hardship was collected during pregnancy through the US Census Survey of Income and Program Participation and constructed as a sum of experiences (32,33). At 4 months postpartum, mothers completed an additional questionnaire detailing pregnancy complications, birth outcomes, infant health, and their health behaviors and social conditions. ...
Article
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Context: Postpartum depression (PPD) is a serious psychiatric disorder. While causes remain poorly understood, perinatal sex hormone fluctuations are an important factor, and allopregnanolone in particular has emerged as a key determinant. While synthetic environmental chemicals such as bisphenols and phthalates are known to affect sex hormones, no studies have measured allopregnanolone and the consequences of these hormonal changes on PPD have not been interrogated. Objective: To investigate associations of repeated measures of urinary bisphenols and phthalates in early- and mid-pregnancy with serum pregnenolone, progesterone, allopregnanolone, and pregnanolone concentrations in mid-pregnancy and PPD symptoms at four months postpartum. Design, Setting, Participants, and Intervention: Prospective cohort study of 139 pregnant women. Bisphenols and phthalates were measured in early- and mid-pregnancy urine samples. Serum sex steroid hormone concentrations were measured in mid-pregnancy. PPD was assessed at 4 months postpartum using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS). Multiple informant models were fit using generalized estimating equations. Main Outcome Measures: Serum levels of allopregnanolone, progesterone, pregnanolone, and pregnenolone were examined as log-transformed continuous variables. PPD symptoms were examined as continuous EPDS scores and dichotomously with scores ≥10 defined as PPD. Results: Di-n-octyl phthalate (DnOP) and diisononyl phthalate (DiNP) metabolites were associated with reduced progesterone concentrations. Log-unit increases in ∑DnOP and ∑DiNP predicted 8.1% (95% Confidence Interval (CI): -15.2%, -0.4%) and 7.7% (95% CI: -13.3%, -1.7%) lower progesterone, respectively. ∑DnOP was associated with increased odds of PPD (odds ratio=1.48 (95% CI: 1.04, 2.11)). Conclusions: Endocrine disrupting chemicals may influence hormonal shifts that may affect PPD.
... From the mid-1980s, various deprivation indicators have been used in scientific literature, though with different applied methodologies. Important studies include (Mayer and Jencks 1989;Halleröd 1995;Nolan and Whelan 1996;Halleröd et al. 1997;Whelan et al. 2008;Whelan and Maître 2012;Fusco et al. 2013;Guio et al. 2016). Supported by the above-mentioned research, the measurement of MD has been commonly used to provide a deeper insight into the multidimensional phenomenon of poverty and social exclusion. ...
Article
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The study applies the fuzzy approach to measuring material deprivation from a multidimensional perspective. By taking into account the intensity of deprivation this approach goes beyond the conventional research using the deprived/non-deprived dichotomy. The study is based on the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions data including a set of nine-item material deprivation indicators adopted by all European Union countries. In order to examine the effects of social reforms introduced by the Polish government in 2016, it focuses on the situation of Polish households in 2015 and 2017. The study aims to identify correlates of material deprivation in Poland using the zero-inflated beta regression model. This model enables to understand the mechanisms behind the risk and the intensity of material deprivation. Moreover, the study provides evidence that households with at least three children experienced meaningful improvement during the studied period. This is probably due to the introduction of the ‘Family 500+’ programme supporting mainly large families.
... Research suggests that households may allocate economic resources differently during times of economic distress and that measures accounting for the totality of hardship, in contrast to individual indicators of hardship, may better capture the true extent of the hardship experience (Beverly, 2001;Federman et al., 1996). Thus, to capture the full dimension of the hardship experience (Mayer & Jencks, 1989), indicators were summed to create a count of hardship that ranges from 0 to 4, where 0 indicates having experienced no hardship at all and 4 indicates having experienced all four types of hardship during the preceding 12 months. ...
Article
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Extant research offers limited understanding of the context in which economic resource and hardship at older ages are assessed. This study investigates the association between location-specific income security and hardship, and the moderating role of financial knowledge, using data from the Understanding America Study. We found that respondents with better location-specific income security were less likely to experience hardship and that financial knowledge strengthened the negative association between income security and hardship. Findings suggest that interventions to improve later-life financial knowledge may offer protection against hardship and that evaluations of later-life income adequacy may benefit from location-specific assessments of cost-of-living.
... The Family Profile Report Form [72] uses demographic and life course history data, including maternal relationship status and support, health status, psychiatric history, and other services received in order to describe study participants and examine the potential moderating effects on intervention. Socio-Economic Stress will be assessed using Conger and Elder's measure of economic hardship based on their family process model of economic hardship [73], which assesses different areas of financial stress and has been used in many studies to describe important aspects of societal disadvantage in samples [74][75][76]. (d) length of time spent in the information, support, video, and assessment areas of the intervention. ...
Article
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Background Postpartum depression interferes with maternal engagement in interventions that are effective in improving infant social-emotional and social-communication outcomes. There is an absence of integrated interventions with demonstrated effectiveness in both reducing maternal depression and promoting parent-mediated practices that optimize infant social-emotional and social-communication competencies. Interventions targeting maternal depression are often separate from parent-mediated interventions. To address the life course needs of depressed mothers and their infants, we need brief, accessible, and integrated interventions that target both maternal depression and specific parent practices shown to improve infant social-emotional and social-communication trajectories. Objective The aim of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of a mobile internet intervention, Mom and Baby Net, with remote coaching to improve maternal mood and promote parent practices that optimize infant social-emotional and social-communication development. Methods This is a two-arm, randomized controlled intent-to-treat trial. Primary outcomes include maternal depression symptoms and observed parent and infant behaviors. Outcomes are measured via direct observational assessments and standardized questionnaires. The sample is being recruited from the urban core of a large southern city in the United States. Study enrollment was initiated in 2017 and concluded in 2020. Participants are biological mothers with elevated depression symptoms, aged 18 years or older, and who have custody of an infant less than 12 months of age. Exclusion criteria at the time of screening include maternal homelessness or shelter residence, inpatient mental health or substance abuse treatment, or maternal or infant treatment of a major mental or physical illness that would hinder meaningful study participation. Results The start date of this grant-funded randomized controlled trial (RCT) was September 1, 2016. Data collection is ongoing. Following the institutional review board (IRB)–approved pilot work, the RCT was approved by the IRB on November 17, 2017. Recruitment was initiated immediately following IRB approval. Between February 15, 2018, and March 11, 2021, we successfully recruited a sample of 184 women and their infants into the RCT. The sample is predominantly African American and socioeconomically disadvantaged. Conclusions Data collection is scheduled to be concluded in March 2022. We anticipate that relative to the attention control condition, which is focused on education around maternal depression and infant developmental milestones with matching technology and coaching structure, mothers in the Mom and Baby Net intervention will experience greater reductions in depression and gains in sensitive and responsive parent practices and that their infants will demonstrate greater gains in social-emotional and social-communication behavior. Trial Registration ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03464630; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03464630 International Registered Report Identifier (IRRID) DERR1-10.2196/31072
... Financial instability and material hardships are common even among middle-income and affluent households (Iceland and Bauman 2007; Mayer and Jencks 1989;Neckerman et al. 2016;Sullivan et al. 2008). Yet, few studies have examined how higher income households respond to financial hardships. ...
Article
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Exchanges of assistance among kin are a common and important source of support for families; however, people are often hesitant to seek such assistance and broader economic contexts influence these exchange relationships. Existing studies overlook the potential role of credit cards in shaping exchanges of assistance among kin, which is surprising given the potential for credit to serve as a substitute for assistance from kin and the potential for credit to shape the economic contexts that influence exchange decisions. Drawing on social exchange theories and data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, we find that having a credit card is associated with a decreased likelihood of borrowing money from close social ties and that this relationship is conditional on marital status and income. These findings contribute to understandings of how exchanges of support are shaped by economic contexts and suggest the need for further research on how credit influences exchanges of assistance among family and friends.
... This, in turn, affects the behaviour of individuals who live in, move to, or travel through such neighbourhoods. It has been argued that signs of disorder erode social control and leave areas more vulnerable to crime increases (Hinkle, 2013;Kelling & Coles, 1996;Mayer & Jencks, 1989;Skogan, 1990;Wilson & Kelling, 1982). ...
Chapter
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This chapter builds on the ideas presented in chapters 2 and 5 by presenting a number of essential tools for a new situational policing. By envisioning strong, safe places as the ultimate goal of policing, these tools help the police and communities engage in dialogue, act together, and assess progress toward this desired end. The “strong neighbourhood” goal sets up a new game which requires the police to work with the community to create an atmosphere where residents are willing to intervene for the common good and the police are there to help. The new game requires new concepts, tools and strategies which are the focus of this chapter.
... For example, many families with income above the poverty line still face substantial hardship (Beverly, 2001;Gershoff, 2003;Short, 2005). In a study in Chicago, Mayer and Jencks (1989) found that income-to-needs ratio explained only 24% of variance in material hardship measures. Relatedly, direct measures of material hardship have frequently shown stronger and more consistent associations with child psychopathology than SES measures alone (e.g. ...
Article
Children raised in families with low socioeconomic status (SES) are more likely to exhibit symptoms of psychopathology. However, the strength of this association, the specific indices of SES most strongly associated with childhood psychopathology, and factors moderating the association are strikingly inconsistent across studies. We conducted a meta-analysis of 120 estimates of the association between family SES and child psychopathology in 13 population-representative cohorts of children studied in the US since 1980. Among 26,715 participants aged 3–19 years, we observed small to moderate associations of low family income (g = 0.19), low Hollingshead index (g = 0.21), low subjective SES (g = 0.24), low parental education (g = 0.25), poverty status (g = 0.25), and receipt of public assistance (g = 0.32) with higher levels of childhood psychopathology. Moderator testing revealed that receipt of public assistance showed an especially strong association with psychopathology and that SES was more strongly related to externalizing than internalizing psychopathology. Dispersion in our final, random effects, model suggested that the relation between SES and child psychopathology is likely to vary in different populations of children and in different communities. These findings highlight the need for additional research on the mechanisms of SES-related psychopathology risk in children in order to identify targets for potential intervention.
... We assessed material hardship with a summary score that comprised seven items which measure whether or not respondents could meet basic expenses, pay full rent or mortgage, pay full utilities, had utilities disconnected, had telephone disconnected, were evicted for nonpayment, or could not afford leisure activities in the past 12 months (e.g. Danziger et al., 2000;Mayer & Jencks, 1989). A higher score on this item indicated higher levels of economic hardship. ...
Article
Despite the rapid growth of the Black Caribbean population in the United States, we know little about the presentation and prevalence of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) among these groups. This study examines the demographic correlates and the effect of racial discrimination on OCD symptoms among a nationally-representative sample of Black Caribbean and African American adults (n = 5191). Drawing on the Composite International Diagnostic Interview Short Form (CIDI-SF) for OCD, we examine two types of obsessions (harm and contamination) and four types of compulsions (repeating, washing, ordering, and counting). There we no significant differences between Black Caribbeans and African Americans in obsessions and compulsions. Analysis among Black Caribbeans found that compared with Jamaican and Trinidadian Americans, Haitian American individuals reported the fewest number of obsessions and compulsions. We show that Black Caribbean Americans with lower income, lower self-rated physical and mental health, and more experiences with racial discrimination report higher levels of OCD. More specifically, racial discrimination was associated with contamination and harm obsessions, as well as washing and repeating compulsions. Our findings highlight the need to consider specific domains of OCD relative to Black Caribbeans, and the relationship between social and demographic variables on symptomology.
... As emphasised by researchers, poverty is a multidimensional issue [4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11]. Identifying it requires the definition of a series of social, economic and political factors. ...
Article
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The purpose of this paper is to assess the level of material deprivation in European Union countries in 2016 from both a local and a global perspective. The Technique for Order Preference by Similarity to an Ideal Solution (TOPSIS) was used in the study. Based on research, five main types of the level of the material deprivation of European Union countries were identified. Research findings suggest that the population of old EU countries is less severely affected by material deprivation than people living in new member states. Also, the level of global material deprivation was assessed. The study was based on 2016 statistical data delivered by Eurostat.
... For ex am ple, in di vid u als who re port hav ing in suf fi cient food to eat, hav ing their util i ties cut be cause of un paid bills, or hav ing in suf fi cient funds to see a doc tor are ex pe ri enc ing ac tual dep ri va tion that is some times not cap tured when only in come is mea sured. Measures of pov erty and hard ship are only mod er ately cor re lat ed, partly be cause of mea sure ment is sues but also be cause they tap into dif fer ent, if re lat ed, di men sions of wellbe ing (Iceland and Bauman 2007;Mayer and Jencks 1989). ...
Article
This study examines the prevalence of several types of hardship (e.g., bill paying and housing hardships) among immigrants by race and ethnicity in the United States using data from the 2008 and 2014 panels of the Survey of Income and Program Participation and logistic regressions. I find that Blacks, and to some extent Hispanics, are more likely to report hardships than Whites and Asians, who are about equally likely to report hardships. Exploring results by nativity and citizenship status, I find that immigrants who became U.S. citizens are less likely than the native-born population to report some kinds of hardship. Undocumented immigrants, however, are more likely to report some kinds of hardships, particularly in the 2008 panel conducted at the time of the Great Recession, which hit immigrants especially hard; this relationship, however, is explained by the lower incomes of undocumented immigrant households in the 2008 panel. Results within racial and ethnic groups are generally in the same direction but are less frequently statistically significant. Overall, these findings suggest that immigrants are not particularly prone to hardship, especially when other characteristics are controlled for. In fact, the lower likelihood of some hardships among foreign-born citizens suggests that they are positively selected: they may have unobserved characteristics that are protective, such as better health, stronger social networks, or money management skills. Because the foreign-born are less likely to be disadvantaged vis-à-vis the native-born when hardship rather than the official income poverty measure is used, this study highlights the importance of using multiple measures when assessing the well-being of immigrants.
... From the mid-1980s, various deprivation indicators have been used in scientific literature, though with different applied methodologies. Important studies include (Mayer and Jencks 1989;Halleröd 1995;Nolan and Whelan 1996;Halleröd et al. 1997;Whelan et al. 2008;Whelan and Maître 2012;Fusco et al. 2013;Guio et al. 2016). Supported by the above-mentioned research, the measurement of MD has been commonly used to provide a deeper insight into the multidimensional phenomenon of poverty and social exclusion. ...
Article
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The study applies the fuzzy approach to measuring material deprivation from a multidimensional perspective. By taking into account the intensity of deprivation this approach goes beyond the conventional research using the deprived/non-deprived dichotomy. The study is based on the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions data including a set of nine-item material deprivation indicators adopted by all European Union countries. In order to examine the effects of social reforms introduced by the Polish government in 2016, it focuses on the situation of Polish households in 2015 and 2017. The study aims to identify correlates of material deprivation in Poland using the zero-inflated beta regression model. This model enables to understand the mechanisms behind the risk and the intensity of material deprivation. Moreover, the study provides evidence that households with at least three children experienced meaningful improvement during the studied period. This is probably due to the introduction of the ‘Family 500+’ programme supporting mainly large families.
... Measures of financial hardship move beyond traditional measures of socioeconomic status (i.e., education and income), and capture the day-to-day financial circumstances of adults during late life that include considerations such as perceived income adequacy, transportation costs, clothes, affordable housing, making ends meet, food insecurity or medication underuse/non-use due to cost. Measures of financial hardship have been found to provide additional clarity of the relationship between household needs, available resources and actual living conditions (Cook & Kramek, 1986;Mayer & Jencks, 1989;Beverly, 2001) that may be obscured by traditional poverty or socioeconomic status (SES) indicators (Levy, 2015). Thus, expanding the operationalization of SES to go beyond income and education to include wealth, debt and hardship is important to assess need. ...
Article
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Background The purpose of this study was to examine the association between three specific indicators of financial hardship (difficulty paying bills, food insecurity, reduced medication use due to cost) and depressive symptoms by race. Methods This was a cross sectional study using the Health and Retirement Study to analyze the data by conducting a logistic regression (N = 3014). Results When stratified by race, White participants who were food insecure had nearly a 3.0 higher odds of high depressive symptoms (95% CI: 1.59–5.51) and African Americans who took less medication due to cost had a 5.1 higher odds of reporting higher depressive symptoms (95% CI: 2.30–11.2) compared to those who did not report these hardships. Conclusions This research highlights the important role expanded socioeconomic measures such as hardship play in the lives of older adult populations. It further elucidates the differences in the specific measures of hardship that impact older adults by race.
... At each study visit mothers were asked a series of questions adapted from a survey designed to measure material hardship among urban populations (16) to determine the level of economic strain that they were experiencing. This included questions about the mother's self-reported ability to afford housing/rent, gas and/or electricity, food, and clothing. ...
Article
Housing instability is a thought to be a major influence on children's healthy growth and development. However, little is known about the factors that influence housing instability, limiting the identification of effective interventions. The goals of this study were to 1) explore factors, including material hardship, satisfaction with living conditions and housing disrepair, that predict housing instability (total number of moves that a child experienced in the first seven years); and 2) examine the relationship between housing instability and child behavior at age 7, measured by the Child Behavior Checklist. We analyzed these associations among children enrolled in the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health (CCCEH) Mothers and Newborns study. In our analysis, we found that housing disrepair predicted residential change after 3 years of age, but not before. Persistent material hardship over the seven-year time period from pregnancy through age 7 was associated with increased number of moves. Children who experienced more than three moves in the first 7 years had significantly more thought- and attention-related problems compared to children who experienced less than 3 moves over the same time period. Children who experienced more than 3 moves also had higher total and internalizing problem behavior scores, although these differences were not statistically significant. We conclude that housing instability is significantly associated with problem behavior in early childhood and that interventions to reduce socioeconomic strain may have the greatest impact in breaking the cycle of children's environmental health disparities related to housing instability.
... Material Hardship. Material hardship-a family's ability to meet its basic needs in the previous 12 months-was measured using 10 questions informed by the work of Mayer and Jencks (1989), which was later validated for use in the Survey of Income and Program Participation and the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (Neckerman et al., 2016). Example questions included the following: "Did you not pay the full amount of rent or mortgage payments," "Did you borrow money from friends or family to help pay bills," and "Were you ever hungry, but didn't eat because you couldn't afford enough food?" ...
Article
Objective: Postpartum physical health is a neglected field of research, yet postpartum physical health problems can significantly interfere with mothers' abilities to meet personal, familial, and work-related responsibilities. This study sought to provide increased understanding of the role that social determinants of health-adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), material hardship, and social support; and discrimination-play in mothers' postpartum physical health. Method: An online survey was completed by a racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse sample (n = 306) of United States women (age 18 and older) who delivered a live baby within the previous year. Results: Logistic regression results demonstrated that mothers' ACEs and material hardship were associated with poorer self-rated postpartum physical health. Furthermore, an interaction between ACEs and material hardship was found suggesting that ACEs did not impact physical health as strongly for mothers who reported material hardship when compared to mothers who did not. No associations were found for social support or experiences of discrimination. Conclusion: Study results provide further support for macrolevel interventions to prevent ACEs and material hardship and to intercede in existing cases to reduce negative effects on postpartum physical health. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
... The primary caregiver reported yes (1) or no (0) on each of the following eight items: (1) received free meals, (2) did not pay full rent/mortgage, (3) evicted for not paying full rent/mortgage, (4) did not pay full gas/oil/electric bill, (5) borrowed money from family/friends to pay bills, (6) moved in with people because of financial problems, (7) stayed in place not meant for regular housing, and (8) did not receive medical care. These items were drawn from the 1996 Survey of Income and Program Participation; the 1997 and 1999 New York City Social Indicators Survey; and the 1999 Study of Work, Welfare, and Family Well-Being of Iowa families on Iowa's assistance program and are comparable to past investigations on material hardship and poverty (Bauman, 1999;Mayer & Jencks, 1989). Responses were collected from the mother if the child lived with their mother at least half of the time. ...
Article
Accumulating literature has linked poverty to brain structure and function, particularly in affective neural regions; however, few studies have examined associations with structural connections or the importance of developmental timing of exposure. Moreover, prior neuroimaging studies have not used a proximal measure of poverty (i.e., material hardship, which assesses food, housing, and medical insecurity) to capture the lived experience of growing up in harsh economic conditions. The present investigation addressed these gaps collectively by examining the associations between material hardship (ages 1, 3, 5, 9, and 15 years) and white matter connectivity of frontolimbic structures (age of 15 years) in a low-income sample. We applied probabilistic tractography to diffusion imaging data collected from 194 adolescents. Results showed that material hardship related to amygdala–prefrontal, but not hippocampus–prefrontal or hippocampus–amygdala, white matter connectivity. Specifically, hardship during middle childhood (ages 5 and 9 years) was associated with greater connectivity between the amygdala and dorsomedial pFC, whereas hardship during adolescence (age of 15 years) was related to reduced amygdala–orbitofrontal (OFC) and greater amygdala–subgenual ACC connectivity. Growth curve analyses showed that greater increases of hardship across time were associated with both greater (amygdala–subgenual ACC) and reduced (amygdala–OFC) white matter connectivity. Furthermore, these effects remained above and beyond other types of adversity, and greater hardship and decreased amygdala–OFC connectivity were related to increased anxiety and depressive symptoms. Results demonstrate that the associations between material hardship and white matter connections differ across key prefrontal regions and developmental periods, providing support for potential windows of plasticity for structural circuits that support emotion processing.
... During pregnancy, mothers completed demographics, education, material hardship (Mayer & Jencks, 1989), and home environment (Bradley, 1994) (Appendix S1: Methods). ...
Article
Background: Prenatal exposure to air pollution disrupts cognitive, emotional, and behavioral development. The brain disturbances associated with prenatal air pollution are largely unknown. Methods: In this prospective cohort study, we estimated prenatal exposures to fine particulate matter (PM2.5 ) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), and then assessed their associations with measures of brain anatomy, tissue microstructure, neurometabolites, and blood flow in 332 youth, 6-14 years old. We then assessed how those brain disturbances were associated with measures of intelligence, ADHD and anxiety symptoms, and socialization. Results: Both exposures were associated with thinning of dorsal parietal cortices and thickening of postero-inferior and mesial wall cortices. They were associated with smaller white matter volumes, reduced organization in white matter of the internal capsule and frontal lobe, higher metabolite concentrations in frontal cortex, reduced cortical blood flow, and greater microstructural organization in subcortical gray matter nuclei. Associations were stronger for PM2.5 in boys and PAH in girls. Youth with low exposure accounted for most significant associations of ADHD, anxiety, socialization, and intelligence measures with cortical thickness and white matter volumes, whereas it appears that high exposures generally disrupted these neurotypical brain-behavior associations, likely because strong exposure-related effects increased the variances of these brain measures. Conclusions: The commonality of effects across exposures suggests PM2.5 and PAH disrupt brain development through one or more common molecular pathways, such as inflammation or oxidative stress. Progressively higher exposures were associated with greater disruptions in local volumes, tissue organization, metabolite concentrations, and blood flow throughout cortical and subcortical brain regions and the white matter pathways interconnecting them. Together these affected regions comprise cortico-striato-thalamo-cortical circuits, which support the regulation of thought, emotion, and behavior.
... From the empirical point of view, the mere use of income for appraising people's economic difficulties has indeed also been questioned in other ambits of economic analysis. Mayer and Jencks (1989) were the first to note that defining poverty thresholds only on the basis of income distribution frequently leads to both an underestimation of the actual conditions of several demographic and social groups (e.g. lone parents, those in poor health, etc.) and conversely an upward bias in the evaluation of the conditions of other categories (especially the elderly). ...
Article
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Economic polarisation in a society may be defined as the creation of groups with strong within-group identity and significant distance from other groups, where the distance is measured in terms of income. The literature on social conflicts considers polarisation a menace to political stability. Italy is characterised by a wide economic divide between the north and the south. This paper investigates the polarisation among Italian macro-regions in 2004-2016. We find that polarisation is low across the country. Paradoxically, the large inequalities inside each region, by hampering the formation of group identity, have hindered the increase in polarisation.
Article
The purpose of this study was to examine the temporal trends and dynamics of financial hardship among older adults in the U.S. between 2006 and 2016 using the Health and Retirement Study. Sample included a total of 13,537 eligible person observations with a median age of 68 years. Financial hardship included measures of difficulty paying bills, food insecurity, taking less medication due to cost, and ongoing financial strain. Regression analyses were performed using a three-wave quadrennial model to estimate the prevalence of financial hardship over time, to explore temporal patterns and identify persistent hardship. Findings reveal that 51% of respondents who experienced food insecurity at one or more waves were transient. This pattern was similar to respondents who experienced ongoing financial strain (52% transient). Respondents who reported difficulty paying bills (68%) and reduced medications due to cost (62%) were also transient. Significant predictors across all four domains of financial hardship include age, years of education, marital status, self-rated health. Being African American was positively associated with reduced medication use and food insecurity. This study provides insight into the temporal dynamics of financial hardship in later life. It also highlights the contiguous, intermediate and transient nature of financial hardship among older adult populations.
Article
Previous research attributes vulnerability to financial hardship either to structural inequities or to poor financial behavior. Less attention has been paid to the role of social psychological factors or to the relative contribution of demographics, behavior, and social psychology in understanding an individual's vulnerability to financial hardship. While studies have examined psychosocial factors in financial outcomes, we argue that these factors represent a missing perspective in the construction of interventions to lessen vulnerability. We further argue that a holistic perspective considering all three factors is needed to address vulnerability to financial hardship. Capitalizing on the richness of the CFPB National Financial Well‐Being Survey data (n = 6,394), we examine the unique contribution of psychosocial factors in explaining an individual's financial vulnerability over and above demographics and behaviors. Using four different measures of financial hardship, we find that all three types of factors play important roles in understanding vulnerability to financial hardship. Our findings suggest that more holistic measures and interventions are needed to enhance consumer financial well‐being. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Article
Background Children from economically distressed families and neighborhoods are at risk for stress and pollution exposure and potential neurotoxic sequalae. We examine dimensions of early life stress (ELS) impacting hippocampal volumes, how prenatal exposure to air pollution might magnify these effects, and associations between hippocampal volumes and visual-spatial reasoning. Method Forty Hispanic/Latinx and/or Black 7-9-year-old children were recruited from a longitudinal birth cohort for MRI and cognitive assessment. Exposure to airborne polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) were measured during the 3rd trimester of pregnancy. Maternal report of psychosocial stress was collected at child age 5 and served as measures of ELS. Whole hippocampus and subfield volumes were extracted using FreeSurfer. Wechsler Performance Intelligence Quotient (PIQ) measured visual-spatial reasoning. Result Maternal perceived stress associated with smaller right hippocampal volume among their children (B= -0.57, t=-3.05, 95% CI: -0.95,-0.19). Prenatal PAH moderated the association between maternal perceived stress and right CA1, CA3, and CA4/dentate gyrus volumes (B≥0.68, t≥2.17), such that higher prenatal PAH exposure magnified negative associations between stress and volume, whereas this was buffered at lower exposure. Right CA3 and CA4/dentate gyrus volumes (B≥0.35, t≥2.16) associated with greater PIQ. Conclusion Prenatal and early-life exposures to chemical and social stressors are likely compounding. Socioeconomic deprivation and disparities increase risk of these exposures that exert critical neurobiological effects. Developing deeper understandings of these complex interactions will facilitate more focused public health strategies to protect and foster the development of children at greatest risk for mental and physical effects associated with poverty.
Article
Maternal depression is associated with adverse impacts on the health of women and their children. However, further evidence is needed on the extent to which maternal depression impacts women's economic well-being and how unmeasured confounders affect estimates of this relationship. In this study, we aimed to measure the association between maternal depression and economic outcomes (income, employment, and material hardship) over a 15-year time horizon. We conducted longitudinal analyses using the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, an urban birth cohort study in the United States. We assessed the potential contribution of time-invariant unmeasured confounders using a quasi-experimental approach and also investigated the role of persistent versus transient depressive symptoms on economic outcomes up to 15 years after childbirth. In models that adjusted for time-invariant unmeasured confounders, maternal depression was associated with not being employed (an adjusted risk difference of 3 percentage points (95% CI 0.01 to 0.05)), and experiencing any material hardship (an adjusted risk difference of 14 percentage points (95% CI 0.12 to 0.16)), as well as with reductions in the ratio of household income to poverty by 0.10 units (95% CI -0.16 to −0.04) and annual household income by $2114 (95% CI -$3379 to -$850). Impacts at year 15 were strongest for those who experienced persistent depression. Results of our study strengthen the case for viewing mental health support services as interventions that can also foster economic well-being, and highlight the importance of including economic impacts in assessments of the cost-effectiveness of mental health interventions.
Article
Background: Pronounced racial disparities in maternal and infant health outcomes persist in the United States. Using an ecosocial and intersectionality framework and biopsychosocial model of health, we aimed to understand Black pregnant women's experiences of gendered racism during pregnancy. Methods: We conducted semistructured interviews with 24 Black pregnant women in New Haven, Connecticut. We asked women about their experience of being pregnant, experiences of gendered racism, and concerns related to pregnancy and parenting Black children. Transcripts were coded by three trained analysts using grounded theory techniques. Results: Women experienced gendered racism during pregnancy-racialized pregnancy stigma-in the form of stereotypes stigmatizing Black motherhood that devalued Black pregnancies. Women reported encountering assumptions that they had low incomes, were single, and had multiple children, regardless of socioeconomic status, marital status, or parity. Women encountered racialized pregnancy stigma in everyday, health care, social services, and housing-related contexts, making it difficult to complete tasks without scrutiny. For many, racialized pregnancy stigma was a source of stress. To counteract these stereotypes, women used a variety of coping responses, including positive self-definition. Conclusions: Racialized pregnancy stigma may contribute to poorer maternal and infant outcomes by way of reduced access to quality health care; impediments to services, resources, and social support; and poorer psychological health. Interventions to address racialized pregnancy stigma and its adverse consequences include anti-bias training for health care and social service providers; screening for racialized pregnancy stigma and providing evidence-based coping strategies; creating pregnancy support groups; and developing a broader societal discourse that values Black women and their pregnancies.
Article
The present study examines multidimensional working poverty in South Korea by combining household income with material deprivation. It aims to capture the reality of working poverty, which is not adequately captured by the income measurement alone. By using data from the Korean Welfare Panel study in 2018, this study revealed three main findings: (a) the material deprivation rate was relatively low in Korea, although some households still suffered from deprivation influencing quality of life; (b) some working households experienced deprivation despite their high income; (c) working households whose heads were engaged in precarious employment were more likely to suffer from either material deprivation or income poverty. Future research should expand the deprivation measure and apply the longitudinal approach to determine more about people trapped in poverty in the long run. In terms of policy, a more generous social protection scheme is necessary for the working poor.
Article
Since the early 1990s, the social safety net for families with children in the United States has undergone an epochal transformation. Aid to poor working families has become more generous. In contrast, assistance to the deeply poor has become less generous, and what remains more often takes the form of in-kind aid. A historical view finds that this dramatic change parallels others. For centuries, the nature and form of poor relief has been driven in part by shifting cultural notions of which social groups are “deserving” and “undeserving.” This line was firmly redrawn in the 1990s. Did the re-institutionalization of these categorizations in policy have material consequences? This study examines the relationship between the decline of traditional cash welfare between 2001 and 2015 and two direct measures of wellbeing among households with children: household food insecurity and public school child homelessness. Using models that control for state and year trends, along with other factors, we find that the decline of cash assistance was associated with increases in both forms of hardship.
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Sărăcia rămâne pe lista celor mai stringente probleme ale lumii contemporane. În consecinţă, aceasta ocupă o poziţie centrală în literatura actuală dedicată dezvoltării. Având în vedere faptul că, în România, indicatorii sărăciei semnalează o situaţie critică, plasându-ne pe ultimele locuri din Uniunea Europeană, utilizând analiza descriptivă, analiza cluster şi analiza de cale, pe baza datelor puse la dispoziţie de Eurostat, în perioada 2007–2017, ne propunem să identificăm potenţiali vectori de dezvoltare, inclusiv rurală, în context naţional prin (1) identificarea cauzelor specifice ale sărăciei, dar şi (2) orientarea spre potenţialele soluţii pro-active, ca răspunsuri la factorii determinanţi. Principalele rezultate au arătat că: (1) între ţările UE, România face parte, alături de Bulgaria şi Grecia, din clusterul cu nivelurile de sărăcie cele mai ridicate; (2) cea mai mare problemă se observă în ceea ce priveşte rata sărăciei relative, care înregistrează un nivel mare în 2017 comparativ cu alte ţări din UE; mai mult, nici progresul în ceea ce priveşte dinamica indicatorului în perioada 2007–2017 nu este unul semnificativ; (3) există decalaje considerabile între urban şi rural; (4) procentul populaţiei cu studii superioare, cheltuielile publice destinate protecţiei sociale şi eficienţa guvernamentală au efecte directe asupra ratei de sărăcie relative, iar creşterea economică şi eficienţa pieţei muncii înregistrează efecte indirecte. Concentrându-se pe analiza unui fenomen grav care afectează profund o parte semnificativă a populaţiei din România, considerăm că studiul răspunde unei nevoi reale de cercetare în acest domeniu.
Article
Poverty and material hardship have both been linked to negative health outcomes in later life. Yet, limited research investigates their combined associations with health. We examined the mediating role of material hardship in the association between poverty and self‐rated health. Using data from the Understanding America Study, we estimated binary and ordered logistic regression models of self‐rated health, including indicators of hardship and income‐to‐poverty ratios for adults aged 50 years or older (N = 2862). We found that the association between income poverty and self‐rated health was mediated by indicators of material hardship among those with incomes between two and four times the official poverty threshold. Interventions to improve health in later life would benefit from efforts to assess and alleviate hardship, with attention to those in the middle range of the income distribution who have income too high to qualify for needs‐based supports while still being at risk of experiencing hardship.
Article
Previous research indicates that romantic partners’ relationship quality is associated with poverty and material hardship. Few studies have used longitudinal data to incorporate changing economic circumstances over time, included a range of economic factors, or investigated the role of social support in this association, however. Using five waves of data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, we extend prior work by evaluating the association between multiple economic stressors and romantic relationship quality over time, and whether social support explains or alters this association. Changes in economic stressors are associated with changes in romantic relationship quality over time, particularly nonstandard work and material hardship. Social support neither explains nor moderates this association in most cases. This study confirms the stress process perspective, showing how economic and work-related stress can proliferate into family life, but does not support the contention that social support buffers families against stress proliferation.
Article
Introduction Material hardship is unique facet of economic distress and may be a risk factor for suicidal behavior. Parents are more likely to experience both material hardship and suicidal behavior than non‐parents. The aims of this study were to (a) examine the association of material hardship with suicidal behavior and (b) assess whether associations differed for parents and non‐parents. Methods We used data from Waves IV and V of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (N = 10,685). We conducted logistic regression to examine the association of one and two or more material hardships at Wave IV with suicidal behavior at Wave V. Results Overall, 38.8% of participants reported material hardship at Wave IV and 7.5% reported suicidal ideation or attempts at Wave V. In the total sample, one material hardship (OR = 1.57, 95% CI 1.20, 2.06) and two or more material hardships (OR = 1.52, 95% CI 1.04, 2.21) were associated with an increased likelihood of suicidal behavior. Among parents, two or more material hardships (OR = 1.86, 95% CI 1.17, 2.94) were associated with an increased likelihood of suicidal behavior. Among non‐parents, one material hardship (OR = 1.81, 95% CI 1.26, 2.59) was associated with an increased likelihood of suicidal behavior. Conclusions Programs and policies aimed at addressing material hardship, particularly accumulating material hardships among parents, may be an effective suicide prevention strategy.
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BACKGROUND Postpartum depression interferes with maternal engagement in interventions shown to be effective in improving infant social-emotional and communication outcomes. There is an absence of integrated interventions with demonstrated effectiveness in both reducing maternal depression and promoting parent-mediated practices that optimize infant social-emotional and communication competencies. Interventions targeting maternal depression are often separate from parent-mediated interventions. To address the life course needs of depressed mothers and their infants, we need brief, accessible, and integrated interventions that target both maternal depression and specific parent practices shown to improve infant social-emotional and communication trajectories. OBJECTIVE Evaluate the efficacy of a mobile internet intervention, Mom and Baby Net (MBN), with remote coaching to improve maternal mood and promote parent practices that optimize infant social-emotional and communication development. METHODS This is a 2-arm, randomized controlled, intent-to-treat trial. Primary outcomes include maternal depression symptoms and observed parent and infant behavior. Outcomes are measured via direct observational assessment and standardized questionnaires. The sample is being recruited within the urban core of a large southern city in the U.S. Study enrollment was initiated in 2017 and concluded in 2020. Participants are biological mothers with elevated depression symptoms, 18 years of age or older, who have custody of an infant less than 12 months of age. Exclusion criteria at the time of screening include maternal homelessness or shelter residence, inpatient mental health and/or substance abuse treatment, or maternal or infant treatment of a major mental or physical illness that would hinder meaningful study participation. RESULTS The start date of this grant-funded randomized controlled trial was September 1, 2016. Data collection is underway. Following IRB-approved pilot work, the randomized controlled trial was IRB- approved on November 17, 2017. Immediately following IRB approval, recruitment was initiated. Between February 15, 2018 and March 11, 2021, we successfully consented a sample of 184 women and their infants into the randomized controlled trial. The sample is predominantly African American and socioeconomically disadvantaged. CONCLUSIONS Data collection is scheduled to conclude in March 2022. We anticipate that relative to the attention control condition, which is focused on education around maternal depression and infant developmental milestones with matching technology and coaching structure, mothers in the MBN intervention will experience greater reductions in depression and gains in sensitive and responsive parent practices, and that their infants will demonstrate greater gains in social-emotional and communication behavior. CLINICALTRIAL Clinicaltrials.gov, identifier NCT03464630, https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03464630
Article
Objective We examine trends in seven types of material hardship, such as food and housing hardships, and how their incidence by poverty status changed over the 1992–2011 period. Method We use data from multiple panels of the Survey of Income and Program Participation and logistic regressions to examine these relationships. Results We find declines in four of the seven hardships, with little change or moderate increases for the others. Declines were larger for hardships more dependent on longer term income flows, while those more sensitive to short‐term income fluctuations declined by less (or increased). Notably, declines in hardship were most evident among the lowest income groups over the period. Conclusion That short‐term hardships did not decline suggests that income volatility poses an important challenge for many households. Larger declines in hardship among the lowest income groups suggest a greater underreporting of income over time and the presence of family resources not comprehensively counted in the official poverty measure.
Article
One in three U.S. households has experienced material hardship. The inadequate provision of basic needs, including food, healthcare, and transportation, is more typical in households with children or persons of color, yet little is known about material hardship in rural spaces. The aim of this study is to describe the prevalence of material hardships in Iowa and examine the relationship between rurality, income, and material hardship. Using data from the 2016 State Innovation Model Statewide Consumer Survey, we use logistic regression to examine the association between rurality, income, and four forms of material hardship. Rural respondents incurred lower odds than non‐rural respondents for all four hardship models. All four models indicated that lower income respondents incurred greater odds for having material hardship. Material hardship was reported across all groups, with rurality, income, race, and age as strong predictors of material hardship among our sample.
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We assess how a variety of disruptive life-course events impact the economic wellbeing of US households and trace the importance of household wealth in helping families who experience these events avoid entering a spell of material hardship. Using longitudinal data from two panels of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), we draw on direct measures of material hardship, disruptive events and household assets. Our analyses reveal that the relationship between disruptive events and the likelihood of experiencing a new spell of material hardship strongly varies across the wealth distribution, suggesting that high household wealth provides an effective private safety net. By distinguishing different types of disruptive events, we demonstrate that divorce, disability and income loss entail a risk of material hardship but also that this risk is effectively buffered by substantial wealth. Different types of hardship – namely, financial, food and medical hardship – respond in similar ways. Like public insurance schemes, wealth insurance helps buffer the effects of disruptive events on material hardship, but unlike public insurance schemes, reliance on private wealth further stratifies the economic wellbeing of households. Policy options for addressing this highly stratified private insurance scheme include disposing of the need for it by funding more robust public insurance, for instance through wealth taxation.
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Adolescent mental health has implications for current and future wellbeing. While a link exists between poverty and mental health, little is known about how experiencing material hardship, such as insecurity of food, housing, utilities, and medical care, throughout early childhood affects adolescent mental health. We examine the relationship between material hardship in childhood and adolescent mental health. We use Poisson regression to examine the effect of material hardship experienced at different stages of childhood on adolescent depression and anxiety outcomes at age 15. We use longitudinal data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study ( N = 3,222). We find that recently experiencing material hardship during childhood is positively and significantly associated with anxiety and depression symptoms at age 15, even when controlling for material hardship at age 15. Additionally, we find that insecurity during mid-childhood and the stress of lacking basic needs during a critical age may influence mental health in adolescence.
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We address a question at the center of many policy debates: how effective is the US safety net? Many existing studies evaluate the effect of one program on economic hardship in isolation, though families typically participate in multiple programs. Using 1992–2011 data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, our analyses examine the simultaneous effect of participation in three programs, TANF, SNAP, or Medicaid/SCHIP, on a set of outcomes of intrinsic importance—measures of material hardship. We find that a 10 percentage point increase in participation in any of these three safety net programs by low-to-moderate income families with children reduces their average number of hardships by 0.11 (−0.41 elasticity), and the incidence of food insufficiency by 1.7 percentage points (−1.27 elasticity). This analysis suggests that hardship would be even more prevalent in the United States without the existence of the current safety net programs.
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This study extends the cushion hypothesis to examine cultural differences in the role of willingness to take financial risk in an individual's objective financial outcomes (e.g., the experience of material hardship) and in an individual's assessment of their financial well‐being. Using data collected in South Korea, Taiwan, and the United States, we find support for a cushion (i.e., weaker relationship) in the association between material hardship and present and future financial well‐being. A cushion was also observed in a weaker association between willingness to take financial risk and expectations for future financial security but not in the experience of material hardship or current money management stress. Our results suggest that cultural context influences an individual's objective situation as well as their subjective assessment of that situation. This paper adds to existing literature by documenting a cushion effect beyond risk taking to include a person's objective financial situation and financial well‐being.
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Research Framework : In a waning welfare state context, older adults’ support needs are often unmet through public services. This insight calls for research on alternative strategies mobilized by older adults to mitigate their vulnerabilities. Objectives : This article focuses on material hardships, defined as difficulties covering basic consumption needs. It explores the prevalence of those issues and the various coping strategies among older adults in comparison to patterns observed in younger age groups. We also attend to differences across region types, ranging from metropolitan centers to rural areas. Methodology : Data are from the General Social Survey (Statistics Canada, 2011). Regression analyses compare the odds of experiencing material hardships and of employing several coping strategies to overcome this difficulty across age and regional categories. Results : Older adults exhibit a lower risk of experiencing material hardships compared to younger groups. When living through material hardships, they are less likely to identify financial support from close social ties as a coping strategy and more likely to report alternative ones than younger persons. Financial support from social networks is also less likely outside of metropolitan areas as compared to within them. Conclusions : Older adults are at a lower risk of material hardships, but when facing them they deploy a different set of coping strategies compared to younger groups, reflecting divergences in constraints and available resources across age groups. Contribution : The literature on aging populations has thus far paid little attention to material hardships and economic vulnerability among older adults, focusing instead on their health-related difficulties. This study helps to fill in this gap. We also contribute to research on kin- and friend-based networks of support by stressing that, during moments of need, receiving monetary support is less common among older adults than in younger age groups.
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Racial and ethnic inequality continues to be the subject of considerable public interest. We shed light on this issue by examining racial disparities in the prevalence of several types of hardship, such as trouble paying bills and housing problems, in the USA over the 1992–2019 period. Using data from several panels of the Survey of Income and Program Participation, we find that hardships were considerably higher—sometimes double, depending on the measure—among blacks and Hispanics than whites and Asians. Nevertheless, these disparities generally narrowed over time. We find that the decline in these disparities—as indicated by a summary hardship index—exceeded that of the official income poverty ratio. We also find that while Asians were more likely to be poor than whites, they were not more likely to experience hardship. Notably, we also see variation in the experiences of different types of hardship. Specifically, there was little decline in the racial disparity of two of the hardships that tend to be responsive to short-term fluctuations in income—bill-paying and health hardship, as well as fear of crime—but substantial declines in disparities with most other measures. Overall, our findings indicate significant racial differences in the experience of hardship, though with a narrowing of many gaps over time.
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