How Does Economic Pressure Relate to Family Processes? A Systemic Test of the Family Stress Model
MetadataShow full item record
Background: When evaluating family well-being, it is important to disentangle dyadic, individual, and family-wide variability. Presently, few studies have considered the role of social disadvantage and mental health across different levels of family analysis. Methods: Canadian families (N = 224, including 55% Canadian-born and 45% immigrant mothers) were observed interacting in a round-robin design. Families included mothers, fathers, and two children, aged 5-9 (younger sibling) and 9-13 years (older sibling). Each family dyad (6 total) completed a co-operative building task for 5 minutes and both members were coded for expressed positivity (12 directed dyadic scores per family). Mothers self-reported depressive symptoms and both parents reported children’s emotional problems. The social relations model was fit and tested in association with socioeconomic status and individual mental health. Results: Significant variance in family positivity across dyadic, individual, and whole-family levels was observed. Socioeconomic status was primarily related to family variations in positivity, while individual mental health was related to positivity for mothers and older children. When individual and family variance components were dropped from the model, certain family relationships were most strongly related to individual mental health, though the pattern of results is less interpretable. Conclusions: This study provides support for multilevel conceptualizations of family life. Socioeconomic status is a family-wide risk factor that relates to whole-family differences in positivity and individual-specific mental health symptoms. Individual mental health is associated with individual differences in expressed positivity during family interactions. Implications for clinical landscapes, theory, and methodology in developmental and family science are discussed.
Cite this version of the work
Laura Colucci (2021). How Does Economic Pressure Relate to Family Processes? A Systemic Test of the Family Stress Model. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/17240