Economic hardship, parenting, and distress in adolescence

Child Dev. 1989 Feb;60(1):25-39. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.1989.tb02692.x.


The relation between family economic hardship and adolescent distress among secondary school students in a small Midwestern community was investigated. According to prior results, family hardship has both direct and indirect effects on adolescent distress. The indirect effects come about through stress-induced changes in parental nurturance and parental discipline. The findings of this study showed that hardship effects varied according to type of distress. For females as well as males, economic hardship had both direct and indirect effects on a depression-loneliness distress factor. The indirect effects occurred through less parental nurturance and more inconsistent discipline. No direct effect of economic hardship was found for either males or females on a distress factor composed of delinquency and drug use items. For both females and males, however, an indirect effect of family economic hardship on the delinquency-drug use factor was found with inconsistent parental discipline as the mediating variable.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Affective Symptoms / psychology*
  • Agriculture / economics*
  • Child Rearing
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Poverty*
  • Psychological Tests
  • Rejection, Psychology
  • Risk Factors