Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Human Development and Family Studies
Jacques D. Lempers
Adolescence is a period characterized by multiple life changes. Biological, psychological, and social factors interact at an accelerated rate to shape the adolescent's development. Additional life stress during this time is especially detrimental to the psychological well-being of a person. Not only is economic hardship directly harmful to the socioemotional development of the adolescent, it may exert indirect damaging effects on the adolescent through its adverse effects on the family supporting system of the adolescent. This dissertation aims to (1) examine existing literature on the relationship between life changes and stress during adolescence, (2) examine existing literature on the effects of economic hardship on families, and (3) investigate the direct and indirect impact of economic hardship on adolescent distress. Utilizing a sample of 390 adolescent boys and girls and their parents from a midwestern state in U. S., this study tested several hypotheses of how economic hardship might directly and indirectly cause adolescent distress. It was found that the effects of economic hardship on both adolescent boys' and adolescent girls' self-esteem, loneliness, and depression are indirect and are mediated through the parent-adolescent affective alliance. The effect of economic hardship on adolescent boys' and girls' aggression is primarily direct. The effects of economic hardship on adolescent boys' delinquency are both direct and indirect. The indirect effect is mediated through the parent-adolescent affective alliance. For adolescent girls, the effects of economic hardship on delinquency are indirect and are mediated through (1) the parent-adolescent affective alliance and (2) the mother's marital happiness. The present study also found that both the father's and the mother's affective alliance with the adolescents are affected by the family's hardship and that both are involved in the mediation process. Furthermore, it was found that the indirect effects of economic hardship that are mediated through parent-adolescent affective alliance are significant for both boys and girls. The theories supporting these findings and implications of the results are discussed.
Digital Repository @ Iowa State University, http://lib.dr.iastate.edu/
Camilla Siu-Na Ho
Ho, Camilla Siu-Na, "Economic hardship, family relationships, and adolescent distress " (1991). Retrospective Theses and Dissertations. 9532.