Human Development and Family Studies
Journal or Book Title
Child Youth Care Forum
Exposure to multiple stressors and lack of access to resources place rural children at high risk for adverse consequences. Family Stress Model guided this study to examine relations between two stressors- food insecurity and maternal depressive symptoms, and behavior problems among younger and older rural children.
To test associations between food insecurity, maternal depressive symptoms, and behavior problems among younger and older rural low-income children.
Cross-sectional data from 370 low-income rural families across 13 states was analyzed using structural equation modeling and multiple group analyses. Mothers’ education level, household income, marital/partner status, and participation in SNAP served as covariates.
Among younger children, maternal depressive symptoms partially mediated the relation between food insecurity and child externalizing behaviors, while among older children, maternal depressive symptoms completely mediated the relation between food insecurity and child internalizing and externalizing behaviors.
Stress manifested directly from, or indirectly through, maternal depressive symptoms and from food insecurity was related to behavior problems among younger and older rural children; however, the relations varied by age of children. Programs and policies that prevent or lessen both food insecurity and maternal depression may help to lessen problem behaviors among on rural children. Longitudinal studies are needed to rigorously examine causation and directionality among food insecurity, maternal depression and rural child behavior problems, while accounting for influences of child, caregiver and family characteristics.
Greder, Kimberly A.; Peng, Cheng; Doudna, Kimberly D.; and Sarver, Susan L., "Role of Family Stressors on Rural Low-Income Children’s Behaviors" (2017). Human Development and Family Studies Publications. 145.