Family Stress Processes Underlying Material Hardship and Parental Detachment and Warmth Amongst Racially Diverse Fathers and Mothers with Low Income

Joyce Y. Lee, Shawna J. Lee, Susan Yoon, Jaclyn Kirsch, Garrett T. Pace, Sarah J. Schoppe-Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: The Family Stress Model was applied to examine the associations between material hardship, parental depressive symptoms, destructive interparental conflict, and parental emotional availability. This study contributes novel information to the literature by including data from both mothers and fathers from racially diverse and socioeconomically disadvantaged contexts, using multimethod data (observational and survey), and examining fathers’ residential status as a moderator. Method: Participants (n = 858) were racially and ethnically diverse families with preschoolers and low income from the Building Strong Families project. Mothers primarily reported on material hardship, and both mothers and fathers reported on their depressive symptoms, destructive interparental conflict, and warmth. The two-bags task was employed to assess both parents’ detachment. Structural equation modeling was used to examine the links between material hardship and parental warmth and detachment, with depressive symptoms and destructive conflict as mediators. Results: Material hardship was linked with higher maternal and paternal depressive symptoms, which were each, respectively, associated with mothers’ and fathers’ destructive conflict. Subsequently, maternal destructive interparental conflict was linked with higher, but paternal destructive interparental conflict linked with lower, maternal detachment. For both parents, depressive symptoms were linked with lower warmth. Fathers’ resident status did not moderate examined family processes. Conclusions: Fathers and mothers with low income share similar and different pathways by which material hardship impacts their emotional availability toward their preschoolers. Importantly, the findings point to targeting parental depressive symptoms and maternal destructive interparental conflict to facilitate positive parenting in diverse families.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Family Violence
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.

Keywords

  • Building Strong Families
  • Detachment
  • Family Stress Model
  • Two-bags task
  • Warmth

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