The impact of family income and parental factors on children's resilience and mental well-being

J Community Psychol. 2023 Jul;51(5):2052-2064. doi: 10.1002/jcop.22995. Epub 2023 Jan 9.


Although there is robust evidence on the intergenerational transmission of trauma-related distress, much less is known about the relation of family income and parental resilience on the resilience and mental well-being of traumatized children. We aimed to determine the association between parental resilience and perceived financial stability, and the resilience and depression of their children among Syrian refugees in Jordan. We carried out a survey of 363 parent-child dyads from a refugee clinic in Northern Jordan. Measures of resilience, trauma, symptoms of mental illnesses, and demographics were reported by the mother and child. We evaluated the associations between parental resilience and their children's mental health. Resilience was highest among parents who reported that their income met their financial needs, (65.77 [standard deviation (SD) 15.96]), and lower for those who reported less income or who stated that their income met their needs only fairly well (62.77 [SD 17.56]). Resilience was lowest for those who reported that that income met their needs poorly (48.02 [SD 23.24]). Parent resilience was positively correlated with child resilience (β = 0.076 [95% confidence interval 0.035-0.12], p < 0.001). Depression and resilience of parents were most closely correlated with the depression and resilience scores of their children, among parents who reported the highest financial stability. Income plays a modifying role in the parent-child resilience and depression associations, with this association being least pronounced within those families who were financially less secure. These findings can help develop interventions to target parental transgenerational impacts according to income status.

Keywords: Syrian; child; mental health; refugee; resilience.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Mental Health*
  • Mothers
  • Parents* / psychology
  • Psychological Well-Being