Linking Employment Status, Maternal Psychological Well-Being, Parenting, and Children's Attributions about Poverty in Families Receiving Government Assistance

By Murry, Velma McBride; Brody, Gene H. et al. | Family Relations, April 2002 | Go to article overview

Linking Employment Status, Maternal Psychological Well-Being, Parenting, and Children's Attributions about Poverty in Families Receiving Government Assistance


Murry, Velma McBride, Brody, Gene H., Brown, Anita, Wisenbaker, Joseph, et al., Family Relations


Linking Employment Status, Maternal Psychological Well-Being, Parenting, and Children's Attributions About Poverty in Families Receiving Government Assistance*

Functional changes in rural African American single-mother-headed families after the implementation of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families were explored from an ecological risk-protection perspective. The sample included 96 single mothers who received government assistance and their 10- or 11-year-old children. Links among maternal employment status, mothers' physical health and psychological functioning, parenting, and children's attributions about the causes of poverty were examined. Maternal psychological distress was linked with children's attributions about the causes of poverty, both directly and indirectly through its association with parenting. Children who did not attribute poverty to social causes had higher academic goals than did those who attributed poverty to social, economic, or political barriers. Further research is needed on barriers to employment and the influence of maternal psychological functioning on parenting.

Key Words: African American, poverty, psychological distress, resilience, single mothers.

With the advent of welfare reform, the number of families receiving government financial assistance has decreased dramatically, from 5 million in March 1994 to 3.2 million in March 1998 (Greenberg, 1998). At the same time, the number of people seeking emergency food assistance and space in homeless shelters has increased (Bernstein, 1997). Thus, during a time when more people need help with basic daily subsistence, fewer families are receiving the benefits that would enable them to meet their needs.

The impetus for change in welfare policies was to reduce the long-term dependency associated with the perpetuation of a cycle of poverty among those receiving benefits (Sawhill, 1988). However, the actual effects of such reforms on single-parent families living in poverty are largely unknown. The principal government assistance program, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), was replaced by Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), the key feature of which is the limitation of the amount of time a woman and her family can receive benefits by requiring families to move from welfare to work within a designated period. Several researchers have questioned the extent to which time limits on welfare, work requirements, and limiting or denying additional benefits for children born to welfare mothers is aimed at reducing poverty rates or are implemented to penalize women who have children outside the traditional family structure (Abramovitz, 1996; Harrington Meyer, 1996; Rank, 1989; Seccombe, Walters, & James, 1999). Regardless of the impetus for welfare reform, many mothers are dropped from welfare rolls without any other form of financial support (Leibovitz & Baseman, 2001). Those who do obtain employment are often in lowearning jobs and find that employment is not necessarily a "ticket out of poverty" (Seccombe, 1996, p. 198).

Poverty has detrimental effects on families. Not only does it create problems directly associated with limited income, but it can also occasion psychological distress that negatively conditions parents' personal outlooks and impedes children's social, emotional, biological, and intellectual development (Brody, Flor, & Gibson, 1999; Sampson & Laub, 1994). However, Bogenschneider (1996) noted that most at-risk children grow up to lead productive lives. Given this, it seems important to focus on those "circumstances and characteristics of children [from families in poverty] that foster health promoting behaviors and competence" (p. 128). In our study, we explored the diversity among African American, single-mother-headed families rearing children in poverty and highlighted correlates of resilience. Understanding the processes of adjustment in these families holds the promise of improving our services to single mothers and their children. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Linking Employment Status, Maternal Psychological Well-Being, Parenting, and Children's Attributions about Poverty in Families Receiving Government Assistance
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.