Hard Times and Heart Break: Linking Economic Hardship and Relationship Distress

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22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We used the Fragile Families and Child Well-Being Study to examine an integrated mediational model linking economic hardship to relationship distress. Depressive symptoms, partner’s discord, parenting stress, and coparenting are combined into a joint model linking economic hardship to relationship distress among mothers and fathers in intimate relationships. Although economic hardship is significantly associated with each mediating factor, only discord is associated with both relationship distress and dissolution in the full model. Moreover, comparisons using multigroup structural equation modeling indicate that while economic hardship is associated with higher discord among both mothers and fathers, the influence is substantially larger among fathers. We suggest that the link between hardship and relationship distress is largely contingent on interactional processes (i.e., discord) and how mothers perceive their child’s father in the midst of economic hard times.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)924-950
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Family Issues
Volume36
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 4 2015

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father
economic model
economics
child well-being
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Keywords

  • economic hardship
  • family stress
  • interpersonal discord
  • parenting stress
  • relationship distress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

Cite this

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title = "Hard Times and Heart Break: Linking Economic Hardship and Relationship Distress",
abstract = "We used the Fragile Families and Child Well-Being Study to examine an integrated mediational model linking economic hardship to relationship distress. Depressive symptoms, partner’s discord, parenting stress, and coparenting are combined into a joint model linking economic hardship to relationship distress among mothers and fathers in intimate relationships. Although economic hardship is significantly associated with each mediating factor, only discord is associated with both relationship distress and dissolution in the full model. Moreover, comparisons using multigroup structural equation modeling indicate that while economic hardship is associated with higher discord among both mothers and fathers, the influence is substantially larger among fathers. We suggest that the link between hardship and relationship distress is largely contingent on interactional processes (i.e., discord) and how mothers perceive their child’s father in the midst of economic hard times.",
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