poverty, maternal depression, young adulthood, family stress model


The objective of this research is to investigate the relationships among childhood poverty, maternal depressive symptoms, internalizing and externalizing childhood behavioral problems, and depressive symptoms and alcohol use in young adulthood. Using longitudinal data from a nationally representative sample and path analysis, a special case of Structural Equation Modeling (SEM), the results indicate that both childhood poverty and maternal depressive symptoms are associated with negative behavioral outcomes in childhood and young adulthood. This study also examines mediating effects of maternal depressive symptoms, and both externalizing and internalizing childhood behavioral problems. The findings indicate that the relationship between childhood poverty and young adult depressive symptoms is mediated by maternal depressive symptoms. Furthermore, the results indicate that the relationship between childhood poverty and young adult alcohol use is mediated by both maternal depressive symptoms and externalizing behavioral problems. These findings support the family stress model, which signifies the role financial strain can play in creating poor parental mental health, which in turn creates deleterious behavioral outcomes for children. The research presented in this study suggests that the family stress model can be expanded to include negative outcomes in young adulthood. It is clear that a comprehensive understanding of the implications of economic instability on the life course cannot exclude mental health.

Off-campus users:

You may need to log in to your campus proxy before being granted access to the full-text above.