Marriage And Family Example Empiricial Article


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Marriage And Family Example Empiricial Article

  1. 1. Does Neighborhood and Family Poverty Affect Mothers' Parenting, Mental Health, and Social Support? Author(s): Pamela Kato Klebanov, Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Greg J. Duncan Source: Journal of Marriage and Family, Vol. 56, No. 2 (May, 1994), pp. 441-455 Published by: National Council on Family Relations Stable URL: Accessed: 15/09/2009 15:58 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use. Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained at Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission. JSTOR is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1995 to build trusted digital archives for scholarship. We work with the scholarly community to preserve their work and the materials they rely upon, and to build a common research platform that promotes the discovery and use of these resources. For more information about JSTOR, please contact National Council on Family Relations is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Journal of Marriage and Family.
  2. 2. PAMELAKATO KLEBANOV Columbia University JEANNEBROOKS-GUNN Columbia University GREG DUNCAN University of Michigan* J. Does Neighborhood and Family Poverty Affect Mothers' Parenting,Mental Health, and Social Support? The effects of neighborhood and family poverty Of the maternal characteristics, social support and other components of socioeconomic status on was adversely affected by family poverty and fe- maternal psychological and behavioral character- male headship status, while active coping was istics are estimated using data from an eight-site positively associated with mother's education. study of 3-year-olds and their mothers (n = 895). Three measures of the home environment (physi- cal environment, provision of learning experi- How neighborhoods affect families living in them has emerged as a key question in understanding ences, and warmth of the mother) and three ma- ternal characteristics (depression, social support, the causes and effects of urban poverty. Over the and coping) were assessed. Neighborhood poverty last 20 years people with low incomes have be- come increasingly likely to live in metropolitan (proportion of neighbors with incomes less than areas and in neighborhoods with a high concentra- $10,000) was associated with a poorer home tion of low-income people (Jargowsky & Bane, physical environment and with less maternal warmth, controlling for family conditions. The 1990; Jencks & Peterson, 1991; Wacquant & Wil- home environment also was adversely affected by son, 1989; Wilson, 1987). This is particularlytrue for economically disadvantaged blacks and His- family poverty, large household size, female head- ship, and low maternal education, although the panics, and for metropolitan areas in the Northeast and Midwest (Jargowsky & Bane, 1990). Some of largest effects were evidenced for family poverty. the ways in which neighborhoods affect individu- als have been elucidated in recent literature, al- though the focus of almost all existing work has Center for Children and Families, Teachers College, Colum- been on adolescents and young adults, not on chil- bia University, New York,NY 10027. dren or parents. Few studies have looked at the *Survey Research Center, University of Michigan, P.O. Box processes by which neighborhoods influence fam- 1248, Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1248. ilies, especially parents, and, in turn, how parents are likely to influence their children. This article Key Words: coping behavior, home environment, mental addresses the question of how both neighborhood health, neighborhoods, parenting behavior, poverty. Journal of Marriage and the Family 56 (May 1994): 441-455 441
  3. 3. 442 Journal of Marriage and the Family and family conditions might influence the ways in son, 1991; Parker, Greer, & Zuckerman, 1988). which parents behave. Poor families have to deal with a greater number In The TrulyDisadvantaged, Wilson (1987) un- of daily stresses which over time weaken their dertook an analysis of the structural changes in ability to handle subsequent stress (McLoyd, postindustrial society that contributed to an in- 1990). Both the inability to control the source of crease in the number of poor and jobless people in the stress, and the inability to cope or handle the inner-city neighborhoods. Wilson also has attempt- stress itself contributes to the deleterious effect on ed to model linkages between structural changes psychological functioning (Makosky, 1982). Psy- and the behavior of residents of inner-city, poor chological distress, in turn, may lead to poor or neighborhoods. Much of the related work to date impaired parenting behavior (McLoyd, 1990; has focused on documenting the association be- McLoyd & Wilson, 1991), and even child abuse tween the increased poverty and joblessness in (Garbarino, 1976). Although it has been difficult neighborhoods with a decline in jobs (especially to disentangle the effects of poverty from other jobs not demanding high literacy skills) in central factors often related to poverty, such as female cities (Freeman, 1991; Kasarda, 1990) and with the headship and low educational attainment, some re- movement of more highly skilled and advantaged cent studies have done this (McClanahan, 1985; residents out of the inner cities (Wilson, 1987; McClanahan & Booth, 1989; McClanahan, Wede- however, see Massey & Eggers, 1990). meyer, & Adelberg, 1981; Pearlin & Johnson, Recently, Wilson (1991a, 1991b) has gone be- 1977). To date, however, no study has examined yond structural changes to examine some of the how neighborhood and family conditions in con- familial and cultural processes that might result cert affect maternal characteristics and behavior. from living in neighborhoods with high concen- Such a study would help illuminate how poverty trations of jobless men and family poverty. He affects the developmental outcomes for children. suggested that living in neighborhoods in which The thesis that social isolation might influence relatively few individuals hold jobs, few jobs are family processes and, indirectly, maternal behav- located within the neighborhood, and single-par- iors may be tested using two neighborhood char- ent households are prevalent may produce what acteristics that might tap different aspects of orga- he terms "social isolation"; these conditions in nization, isolation, and economic resources-the turn may produce socialization practices and fam- proportion of families in the neighborhood with ily life styles that do not reinforce practices asso- incomes less than $10,000 ("low income"), and ciated with steady employment. Postulated char- the proportion of families with incomes over acteristics include a focus on the present rather $30,000 ("high income"). The mixture of low- than the future, poor planning and organization, and high-income families in a neighborhood little sense of personal control over events, and a could affect parents and parenting in several lack of emphasis on school or job-related skills. ways. Drawing upon social-psychological expla- This constellation of familial conditions might be nations, Wilson hypothesized that planning, con- expressed, and measured, through psychological trol, and organization might be low when most dimensions such as coping behavior, self-effica- neighbors are engaged in subsistence living; or al- cy, problem solving, and present-future orienta- ternatively, they might be high when most neigh- tion, as well as dimensions of family process, bors have high incomes or are employed in high such as parenting behavior, organization of the occupational status jobs. Most of the current argu- household, and the provision of learning experi- ments with respect to ghetto social isolation have ences for their children. While this hypothesis has focused on the concentration of poverty, specifi- received some attention, it has not been tested di- cally the numbers of persons with low incomes, rectly. Thus, little is known about whether or how even though it is equally plausible that lack of neighborhoods may affect maternal characteris- high-income earners is what makes the difference tics and behaviors. Rather, the primary focus of (Crane, 1991). research has been on how family-level poverty af- This study examines how both neighborhood fects parents and children. and family conditions influence maternal charac- Research bearing on the effect of family pover- teristics (mental health, coping behavior, and so- ty has documented the association between pover- cial support) and maternal child-directed behavior ty and greater psychological distress and depres- (the physical environment of the home, the provi- sion (Belle, 1990; Belle, Longfellow, & Makosky, sion of learning experiences, the warmth and re- 1982; Danziger & Stern, 1990; McLoyd & Wil- sponsiveness of the mother). Three issues are ad-
  4. 4. Poverty and Maternal Behavior 443 dressed: (a) whether neighborhood poverty influ- vides rich measures of family structure and fami- ences maternal conditions over and above the ef- ly and neighborhood economic conditions. It also fects of family poverty and family conditions, (b) provides measures of family-level variables that the relative influence of family poverty and other reflect the social isolation Wilson describes in his family conditions on maternal conditions, and (c) analysis of "ghetto social dislocations" such as whether maternal characteristics account for the the physical environment of the home, the provi- effects of family poverty and family conditions sion of learning experiences, and the warmth and on maternal child-directed behaviors. responsiveness of the mother. The home environ- Figure 1 presents the model upon which the ment has been studied extensively in the early analyses are based. Because we are interested in childhood period, but not as possible products of the effects of neighborhood on maternal charac- neighborhood influences. Measures of maternal teristics and behavior, controlling for family level coping, depression, and social support are also variables, arrows link neighborhood resources, available that tap the effects of social isolation family resources, and maternal characteristics and upon the psychological adaptation of parents. The behaviors. In addition, because maternal charac- final set of family-level conditions included in teristics may account for some of the associations our conceptual model involves family structure, previously reported between family-level vari- economic resources, ethnicity, and maternal edu- ables and maternal behavior, arrows link family cation and age. Each of these conditions has been variables, maternal characteristics, and maternal associated with maternal characteristics and be- behavior. havior (Belle, 1990; McClanahan et al., 1981; Our data set-the Infant Health and Develop- McLoyd, 1990; Pearlin & Johnson, 1977). ment Program (IHDP)-is a randomized clinical trial carried out in eight sites across the nation to METHOD evaluate the benefits of educational and family support services and pediatric follow-up offered Design and Sample early in life on reducing the incidence of develop- mental delays in low-birth-weight, preterm in- The Infant Health and Development Program is a fants. For our present research, the IHDP pro- randomized clinical trial to test the efficacy of ed- FIGURE 1. MODEL OF NEIGHBORHOOD AND FAMILY INFLUENCES ON MATERNAL CHARACTERISTICSAND BEHAVIOR
  5. 5. 444 Journal of Marriage and the Family ucational and family-support services and high- 3rd years, and bimonthly parent group meetings quality pediatric follow-up offered in the first 3 in the child's 2nd and 3rd years of life. years of life on reducing the incidence of devel- opmental delay in low-birth-weight, preterm in- Measures fants in eight clinical sites (Brooks-Gunn, Kle- banov, Liaw, & Spiker, 1993; Infant Health and Neighborhood conditions. Neighborhood condi- Development Program, 1990; McCormick, tions were constructed by matching family ad- Brooks-Gunn, Workman-Daniels, Turner, & dresses to a 1980 Census geocode, usually the Peckham, 1992). Infants weighing less than or census tract. The relevant address was taken at equal to 2500 grams at birth were screened for el- the time of the infant's birth. Addresses were igibility if they were 40 weeks postconceptional matched to minor civil division (MCD) in the rel- age between January7, 1985 and October 9, 1985 atively infrequent instances (n = 57) when tract and were born in one of eight participating medi- information was not available. cal institutions (Arkansas at Little Rock, Einstein, Harvard, Miami, Pennsylvania, Texas at Dallas, Family conditions. Several sociodemographic Washington, and Yale). Of the 1,302 infants who measures were included: the total annual family met enrollment criteria, 274 (21%) were eliminat- income; number of household members; complet- ed because consent was refused and 43 were ed schooling of the mother, in years; whether the withdrawn before entry into their assigned group family was headed by the mother at 24 and 36 (resulting in a sample size of 985). Analyses ex- months; whether there was a change in female amining whether those who refused to participate headship status between 24 and 36 months; wel- differ from those who participated, reported in fare status; whether the mother was a teenage par- Constantine, Haynes, Kendall-Tackett, and Con- ent; and whether the mother was black or Hispan- stantine (1993), did not reveal differences that ic. The income categories in thousands of dollars have any effect on the representativeness of the were: under 5, 5-7.49, 7.5-9.9, 10-14.9, 15-19.9, sample to the population or on the comparability 20-24.9, 25-34.9, 35-49.9, and over 50. We as- of the treatment group. Attrition in the sample signed a value of 3.5 to respondents in the first was low-7% at the 36-month assessment. category and 65 to respondents in the last catego- Our analysis of these data focuses on the cases ry. The midpoint of the range was assigned to all within the eight data collection sites for which ad- other categories. In the IHDP, mother's educa- dresses could be matched to Census tract, enu- tion, ethnicity, and age were measured at the time meration district, or minor civil division, produc- of the infants' birth; family income, household ing an analysis sample of 895, of whom 489 size, and welfare status was reported by the moth- (54.7%) were black, 101 (11.3%) Hispanic, and er when the infant was 12 months old; and female 304 (34%) non-Hispanic white. One of the cases headship status was measured when the child was had missing data on ethnicity. Six of the centers 24 and 36 months old. (Einstein/Bronx, Harvard, Miami, Pennsylvania /Philadelphia, Seattle, and Texas at Dallas) were Maternal parenting behavior. The preschool ver- located in large metropolitan areas with large sion (ages 3-6) of the Home Observation for populations of poor families, and two were locat- Measurement of the Environment (HOME; Cald- ed in large metropolitan areas (Arkansas/Little well & Bradley, 1984) is a 55-item semistructured Rock and Yale/New Haven) serving both urban observation interview. A 2-day training session and rural communities. for the assessors at the eight sites was conducted The IHDP research design included stratifica- by Caldwell and Bradley. Criterion videotapes of tion by clinical site and into birth-weight groups. the test administration were produced and given One-third of the infants were randomized to the to the sites. Assessors meeting the criterion of at intervention group and two-thirds to the follow- least a 90% level of agreement with the criterion up group. The intervention program was initiated tape were allowed to collect data. In addition, vis- on discharge from the neonatal nursery and con- its to the eight sites and periodic checks were tinued until 36 months. The services for infants in made to insure the 90% level (Bradley, Casey, the intervention group consisted of home visits Barrett, Whiteside, Mundfrom, & Caldwell, in over the 3 years, an educational child-care pro- press). The HOME was administered when the gram at a child development center in the 2nd and child was 36 months of age (corrected for prema- turity) as a measure of the child's level of stimu-
  6. 6. Poverty and Maternal Behavior 445 lation in the home environment. Three subscales months with a broken leg, needs help making an were used here: provision of learning stimulation, important decision, has a serious personal prob- which is a composite of the learning, academic, lem, needs to borrow money in an emergency, or and language stimulation and variety in experi- has someone with whom to enjoy a free afternoon. ence subscales (e.g., child has toys which teach color, size, shape; child is encouraged to learn the Descriptive Characteristics of the Sample alphabet and numbers), which has an alpha of .87 for 32 items; physical environment (outside play Means and standarddeviations of all of the neigh- environment appears safe; interior of apartment borhood and family-level measures included in not dark or perceptually monotonous), which has our analyses are shown in Table 1. The descrip- an alpha of .74 for seven items; and warmth (par- tive statistics show vast racial differences in ent caresses, kisses, or cuddles child during visit), neighborhood and family conditions. A greater which has an alpha of .64 for seven items. Relia- proportion of blacks and Hispanics live in poorer bility coefficients are based only on the follow-up neighborhoods, come from poorer families, are on subjects. welfare, receive less education, are more likely to live in female-headed families, and have poorer Maternal psychological characteristics. The home environments, but are less depressed than Health and Daily Living Form Revised Version whites. Black children are born at lower birth (Moos, Cronkite, Billings, & Finney, 1986) is a weights and are more likely to be born to teenage 32-item self-report coping scale, developed for mothers, but are in slightly better health than use with clinical populations and adolescents. white and Hispanic children. Coping responses are classified into three do- mains according to their method of coping: (a) ac- RESULTS tive cognitive coping, (b) active behavioral cop- ing, and (c) avoidance coping. Respondents indi- Wilson hypothesizes that neighborhood effects cate a recent stressful event and rate the operate through intra-individual psychological di- frequency with which they use 32 coping re- mensions such as self-efficacy, problem solving, sponses using a scale from 0 (no) to 3 (yes, fairly and present-future orientation, as well as intrafa- often). The reliability of this measure ranges from milial interaction dimensions, such as parenting .60 to .74 for nonclinical adult populations, with behavior, organization of the home, and provision the highest reliability for active behavioral cop- of learning experiences. ing, the form of coping examined here (e.g., To test this hypothesis, each of the maternal talked with a friend about the problem; made a characteristics of interest was regressed on neigh- plan of action and followed it). borhood and family resources and child character- The General Health Questionnaire (GHQ; istics. Ordinary Least Squares multiple linear re- Goldberg, 1978) taps depression, somatization, gressions were conducted with the following inde- and anxiety dimensions. A total score based on pendent variables: Neighborhood income (fraction recoding the responses to values from 0 to 3 (see of families with incomes less than $10,000 and Goldberg, 1972) results in a total score from 0 to fraction of families with incomes greater than 36. The 12-item version of the GHQ was used. $30,000; fraction of families with incomes be- Social Support was assessed at 36 months tween $10,000 and $30,000 were omitted as a using six vignettes adapted from Cohen and control), site (dummy coded with each site being Lazarus (1977). These vignettes, pretested and compared to the eighth site), treatment (1 = inter- used in the Central Harlem Study, have good dis- vention, 0 = follow-up), birth weight (in grams), criminant validity (McCormick, Brooks-Gunn, neonatal health index (adjusted for birth weight Shorter, Holmes, & Heagarty, 1989; McCormick, and standardized to a mean of 100), gender of Brooks-Gunn, Shorter, Wallace, Holmes, & Hea- child (1 = male, 0 = female), total family income garty, 1987). For each vignette, whether help can (in thousands of dollars), household size, welfare be expected from people living within the house- status (1 = on welfare, 0 = not on welfare), mater- hold and from those outside the household is de- nal age (1 = age 18 and younger, 0 = 19 and termined by yes (1) or no (0) responses. Scores older), maternal education (in years), female head- range from 0 to 12. A variety of situations are pre- ship at 24 and 36 months (1 = female head, 0 = sented: whether support is available if the respon- other), change in female headship status from 24 dent needs to go out unexpectedly, is laid up for 3 to 36 months (1 = change in status, 0 = other),
  7. 7. 446 Journal of Marriage and the Family TABLE 1. MEANS AND STANDARD DEVIATIONS FOR NEIGHBORHOOD-LEVEL, FAMILY-LEVEL, AND INDIVIDUAL-LEVEL VARIABLES AND MATERNAL OUTCOMES. Variable All Subjects Whites Blacks Hispanics Neighborhoodlevel Fractionof families with income < $10K 0.32 0.18 0.39 0.40 (0.18) (0.12) (0.17) (0.16) Fractionof families with income > $30K 0.17 0.27 0.12 0.09 (0.14) (0.16) (0.09) (0.06) Family level Total family income $20,324.51 $31,639.68 $14,302.84 $14,500.00 ($17,428.04) ($20,211.32) ($12,247.07) ($11,098.61) Numberin household 5.11 4.34 5.54 5.40 (2.54) (2.12) (2.61) (2.85) Welfare status 0.38 0.14 0.51 0.51 (0.49) (0.35) (0.50) (0.50) Teenage birth 0.17 0.07 0.23 0.13 (0.37) (0.25) (0.42) (0.34) Mother'seducation 11.81 12.87 11.35 10.84 (2.47) (2.67) (2.12) (2.36) Female headship 0.36 0.12 0.60 0.37 (0.48) (0.32) (0.49) (0.48) Changein female headship 0.14 0.12 0.15 0.20 (0.35) (0.33) (0.35) (0.40) Black 0.55 0.00 1.00 0.00 (0.50) (0.00) (0.00) (0.00) Hispanic 0.11 0.00 0.00 1.00 (0.32) (0.00) (0.00) (0.00) Individuallevel Birth weight 1788.02 1842.39 1741.70 1848.56 (459.32) (438.28) (469.33) (451.59) Neonatalhealth 100.49 96.81 103.32 97.88 (15.69) (17.16) (13.94) (16.44) Gender(male = 1) 0.49 0.49 0.47 0.58 (0.50) (0.50) (0.50) (0.50) Maternaloutcomes Home learningenvironment 21.05 24.75 18.99 20.05 (5.95) (5.01) (5.54) (5.14) Home physical environment 5.30 6.20 4.80 5.02 (1.83) (1.49) (1.84) (1.71) Home warmth 5.12 5.71 4.72 5.36 (1.66) (1.32) (1.80) (1.28) Depression 10.54 11.39 9.95 10.82 (4.67) (4.89) (4.54) (4.13) Social support 8.85 9.15 8.72 8.55 (2.49) (1.96) (2.72) (2.69) Active behavioralcoping 21.62 23.22 20.73 21.10 (5.82) (5.41) (5.95) (5.38) Note: Standarddeviations appearin parenthesesbelow the means. nonfemale headship at 24 and 36 months (omitted maternal characteristics.For example, column 1 of as a control), ethnicity (1 = black, 0 = other; 1 = Table 2 presents coefficients from the regression Hispanic, 0 = other; with whites omitted as the of home learning on the neighborhood income control group). Comparison regressions that in- variables. Column 2 presents coefficients from the clude only the two neighborhood measures were regression of home learning on the neighborhood also run. The results are presented in Tables 2 and income and family variables. 3. Each column represents a separate regression. Tables 2 and 3 focus on neighborhood income Two regressions are represented for each of the distribution. Including both the low-income and
  8. 8. Poverty and Maternal Behavior 447 high-income measures in the same regression pro- effect on five of the six outcomes, the only excep- duces coefficients that reflect the effects of addi- tion being maternal depression. However, com- tional low-income or affluent neighbors relative pared to moderate-income neighbors, affluent to the omitted category of moderate-income fami- neighbors had a positive effect on the learning lies. Thus, this formulation provides a summary and physical environment of the home, but not on look at the relative importance of the presence of maternal warmth, behavioral coping, depression low-income families versus the absence of high- or social support. income families. The Effect of Neighborhoods, Controlling for Bivariate Links Between Neighborhoods and Family Resources Maternal Characteristics and Behaviors Sample-wide associations between the socioeco- Columns 1, 3, and 5 of Tables 2 and 3 show bi- nomic position of a family and its neighborhood variate relationships between neighborhood in- are certain to be positive. Including both in our come and the six maternal characteristics and be- regressions produces estimates of the net impact haviors. There were significant links between of neighborhood, although this may overcontrol neighborhood income and maternal characteris- for family effects if the family's socioeconomic tics and behavior. Compared to moderate-income position is itself caused by neighborhood factors. neighbors, low-income neighbors had a negative TABLE OLS REGRESSION 2. COEFFICIENTSSTANDARD AND FOR ERRORS VARIOUSMODELS OF EFFECTS NEIGHBORHOODS OF ONHOMEENVIRONMENT SCORES Home Learning Physical Environment Warmth Variable Independent 1 2 3 4 5 6 Neighborhoodlevel Fractionof families with income < $10K -5.55* -2.23 -3.27* -2.26* -1.94* -1.29* (1.81) (1.65) (0.59) (0.57) (0.56) (0.56) Fractionof families with income > $30K 10.49* 1.76 1.35* -0.42 0.52 -0.50 (2.37) (2.22) (0.77) (0.76) (0.73) (0.76) Famly level Total family income in thousands 0.050* 0.018* 0.004 (0.013) (0.005) (0.005) Numberin household -0.28* -0.10* -0.03 (0.07) (0.02) (0.02) Welfare status -0.01 -0.27 0.05 (0.43) (0.15) (0.15) Teenage birth 0.69 -0.15 -0.24 (0.51) (0.18) (0.18) Mother's education 0.54* 0.12* 0.07* (0.09) (0.03) (0.03) Female headship -1.16* 0.05 -0.30* (0.44) (0.15) (0.15) Changein female headship -2.16* -0.08 -0.18 (0.54) (0.19) (0.18) Black -2.96* -0.34* -0.58* (0.51) (0.17) (0.17) Hispanic -2.40* 0.002 -0.09 (0.72) (0.25) (0.25) R2(adjusted) 0.25 0.42 0.17 0.28 0.09 0.14 Constant 19.98 14.03 6.70 5.18 5.58 4.73 Note: Each column representsa separateregression. All regression models also include dummy variables for seven of the eight data collection sites, treatmentgroup status, birth weight, neonatal health, and sex of child. Dependent variable mean (+ SD) for home learning = 21.05 (5.95), for physical environment= 5.30 (1.83), warmth= 5.12 (1.66). Number of observationsfor each = 719. *1B/SE I > 2.
  9. 9. 448 Journal of Marriage and the Family TABLE 3. OLS REGRESSION COEFFICIENTSAND STANDARD ERRORS FOR VARIOUS MODELS OF EFFECTS OF NEIGHBORHOODS ON MATERNAL COPING SCORES Moos Active BehavioralCoping Depression Social Support Variable Independent 1 2 3 4 5 6 Neighborhoodlevel Fractionof families with income < $10K -3.77t -2.35 -0.67 -0.11 -1.88* -1.33 (1.95) (2.02) (1.57) (1.63) (0.87) (0.84) Fractionof families with income > $30K 3.57 1.57 -0.36 0.08 -0.89 -2.03tt (2.55) (2.71) (2.06) (2.18) (1.13) (1.14) Famly level Total family income in thousands 0.006 -0.019 0.014* (0.016) (0.013) (0.007) Numberin household 0.01 0.08 0.02 (0.09) (0.07) (0.04) Welfare status 0.02 -0.02 -0.24 (0.53) (0.43) (0.22) Teenage birth -0.08 0.62 0.74* (0.63) (0.51) (0.26) Mother'seducation 0.21* 0.003 0.005 (0.10) (0.09) (0.04) Female headship -0.30 -0.43 -1.88* (0.54) (0.43) (0.22) Changein female headship 0.74 0.48 -1.05* (0.66) (0.53) (0.28) Black -1.40* -1.29* 0.41 (0.63) (0.50) (0.26) Hispanic -0.81 -0.39 0.09 (0.88) (0.71) (0.37) R2 (adjusted) 0.04 0.04 0.02 0.03 0.001 0.12 Constant 21.59 18.80 10.74 10.87 9.84 9.86 Note: Each column representsa separateregression. All regression models also include dummy variables for seven of the eight data collection sites, treatmentgroup status, birth weight, neonatal health, and sex of child. Dependent variable mean (+ SD) for Moos active behavioralcoping = 21.62 (5.82), depression= 10.54 (4.67), and social support= 8.85 (2.49). Numberof observationsfor each = 736. *IB/SEI >2. tt= -1.39,p = .05. ttt=-1.79,p = .07. Two of the neighborhood effects persisted -10.42, SE = 4.74, p < .05, for regressions not even after controlling for differences in family- controlling for family variables). There was no level measures. Low-income neighbors were as- significant effect for neighbors with incomes be- sociated with a worse physical environment in the tween $31,000 and $75,000 (B = 1.44, SE = 1.59 home, as well as less warmth between mother and for regressions not controlling for family-level child. A third neighborhood effect-the associa- variables, and B = -.20, SE = 1.57 for regressions tion of affluent neighbors with less social sup- controlling for family-level variables). There was port-was marginally significant (p < .07). Be- no effect of poor neighbors (B = -1.16, SE = .93 cause the effect of affluent neighbors may be for regressions not controlling for family-level more pronounced for those at the highest income variables, and B = -.76, SE = .91 for regressions levels, we dichotomized this variable into: (a) controlling for family-level variables). fraction of neighbors with incomes greater than To define further the nature of neighborhood $30,000 but less than or equal to $75,000, and (b) effects, we interacted the low-income and affluent fraction of neighbors with incomes greater than neighborhood measures and (a) maternal ethnicity $75,000. Substituting these two variables into our and (b) family-level income (data not shown in regression equations, we found significant nega- Table 2) for the two outcomes, home physical en- tive effects only for those neighbors with incomes vironment and warmth, that were significantly as- over $75,000, even when controlling for family- sociated with neighborhood conditions once the level variables (B = -9.35, SE = 4.47, p < .05; B = effects of family variables were controlled. There
  10. 10. Poverty and Maternal Behavior 449 was some evidence that the effects of neighbor- ed with parenting behavior. With the exception of hood differ between blacks and whites. Relative welfare status and maternal age, all family vari- to affluent neighbors, low-income neighbors had ables were significantly associated with the learn- a negative effect on the physical environment and ing environment of the home. Specifically, higher warmth of the home for white families, but not family income, smaller household size, greater for black families. In addition, there was some ev- education, nonfemale headship or no change in idence that effects differ between poor and non- female headship status, and being white were as- poor families. Relative to affluent neighbors, low- sociated with better learning environments. A income neighbors have a negative effect on the somewhat different pattern of results was found physical environment of the home for poorer fam- for the physical environment and warmth of the ilies than for more affluent families. home. While higher income, smaller household Because other characteristics of the neighbor- size, greater education, and being nonblack were hood such as labor force participation and con- associated with a better physical environment, fe- centration of minorities may also contribute to so- male headship status was not associated with the cial isolation, the effects of these neighborhood physical environment. Greater education, constant characteristics on maternal characteristics and be- female headship status, and being nonblack were haviors were examined. In a series of regressions associated with greater warmth, while income and that controlled for neighborhood income (fraction household size were not associated with maternal of neighbors with incomes less than $10,000 and warmth. fraction of neighbors with incomes greater than As revealed in columns 2, 4, and 6 of Table 3, $30,000) and family-level variables, the effects of family-level variables were less strongly associat- fraction of blacks in the neighborhood or fraction ed with maternal characteristics. Welfare status, of males between the ages of 16 and 64 in the household size, and being Hispanic were not as- neighborhood who were not in the labor force on sociated with any of the maternal characteristics. parenting behavior and maternal characteristics However, income, nonfemale headship, and ma- were assessed. The results for 11 of the 12 regres- ternal age were associated with social support. sions were nonsignificant. The only exception Mothers with greater incomes who were not fe- was that fraction of blacks in the neighborhood male head at 24 or 36 months and who gave birth was associated with greater social support over as teenagers reported greater social support. Eth- and above the neighborhood and family-level nic differences also were associated with coping variables. and depression. Black mothers reported less ac- Finally, because neighborhood conditions tive behavioral coping and less depression than were measured at the time of the infant's birth white mothers. None of the child control variables and because 40.7% of the sample had moved (birth weight, neonatal health, sex) were associat- within the 3-year time period, regression analyses ed with any of the maternal outcomes. that also controlled for the effect of moves were Finally, whether maternal characteristics ac- conducted. These analyses revealed that, with the count for the association between family condi- exception of social support (with mothers who tions and maternal behavior was examined by re- moved reporting less social support), whether a gressing maternal behavior at 36 months on ma- family moved was not related to maternal out- ternal characteristics, and family and comes. More importantly, controlling for the ef- neighborhood conditions. The results are shown fect of moves did not alter our regression results. in Table 4 where each column represents a sepa- Moreover, related analyses using IHDP data also rate regression. These analyses revealed that ma- have revealed that whether a family moves to a ternal behavioral coping and social support were new neighborhood or not has little if any effect on associated with a better learning environment. our maternal characteristics and parenting behav- Maternal behavioral coping and low levels of de- ior outcomes (Duncan, Connell, & Klebanov, in pression were associated with a better physical press). environment. None of the maternal characteristics were associated with the warmth of the home. The Effect of Family Conditions, Controlling More important, however, was that maternal char- acteristics accounted for the association between for Neighborhoods female headship at 24 and 36 months and parent- Results presented in columns 2, 4, and 6 of Table ing behavior. The effect of female headship at 24 2 show that most family conditions were associat- and 36 months on learning and warmth in the
  11. 11. 450 Journal of Marriage and the Family home became nonsignificant once maternal char- played a role, even after controlling for family acteristics were controlled. These results suggest poverty and other family conditions. As hypothe- that it is the diminished ability of mothers to cope sized by Wilson (1991a, 19991b), residing in a poor with the stress of role overload associated with neighborhood was associated with worse maternal being a female head of household that may ad- outcomes, specifically the provision of a more versely affect the home environment. negative physical environment and less maternal warmth. However, neighborhood poverty was not associated with the provision of learning experi- DISCUSSION ences, maternal depression, or behavioral coping. Both neighborhood and family poverty indices Neighborhood and family poverty were associ- had adverse effects on maternalcharacteristicsand ated with the physical environment of the home. the home environment. Although family poverty As expected, greater family resources (higher lev- was associated with most of the maternal out- els of family income, smaller family size, and comes, as expected, neighborhood poverty also greater maternal education) were associated with a TABLE 4. OLS REGRESSION COEFFICIENTSAND STANDARD ERRORS FOR VARIOUS MODELS OF EFFECTS OF NEIGHBORHOODS AND FAMILY-LEVEL VARIABLES ON HOME ENVIRONMENT SCORES IndependentVariable Home Learning Physical Environment Warmth Neighborhoodlevel Fractionof families with income < $10K -1.51 -2.19* -1.21* (1.61) (0.57) (0.56) Fractionof families with income > $30K 2.39 -0.46 -0.40 (2.16) (0.76) (0.76) Family level Total family income in thousands 0.043* 0.017* 0.003 (0.013) (0.005) (0.004) Numberin household -0.29* -0.10* -0.03 (0.07) (0.02) (0.02) Welfare status 0.08 -0.27 -0.06 (0.42) (0.15) (0.15) Teenage birth 0.43 -0.14 -0.27 (0.50) (0.18) (0.18) Mother'seducation 0.52* 0.11* 0.07* (0.09) (0.03) (0.03) Female headship -0.43 0.06 -0.21* (0.45) (0.16) (0.16) Changein female headship -1.81* -0.08 -0.13 (0.53) (0.19) (0.19) Black -3.02* -0.33* -0.61* (0.50) (0.18) (0.18) Hispanic -2.37* 0.01 -0.10 (0.70) (0.25) (0.25) Individuallevel Moos active behavioralcoping 0.09* 0.03* 0.01 (0.03) (0.01) (0.01) Depression -0.03 -0.02* -0.01 (0.04) (0.01) (0.01) Social support 0.38* 0.01 0.05 (0.07) (0.03) (0.03) R2 (adjusted) 0.46 0.29 0.14 Constant 8.80 4.84 4.26 Note: Each column representsa separateregression. All regression models also include dummy variables for seven of the eight data collection sites, treatmentgroup status,birthweight, neonatalhealth, and sex of child. Numberof observations for each = 719. *1B/SE I> 2.
  12. 12. Poverty and Maternal Behavior 451 better physical environment. In addition, neigh- greater social support also were associated with borhood poverty had a negative effect on the the provision of learning experiences. physical environment. The presence of low-in- Maternal characteristics-depression, support, come neighbors may have played a role by gener- coping-typically have not been examined vis-a- ally lowering the quality of housing in the neigh- vis neighborhood and family poverty. Family borhood which indirectly might affect mothers' poverty and female headship were associated with efforts to provide a positive physical environment. less social support. While neighborhood poverty Secondary analyses that examined the effects of was not associated with social support, neighbor- maternal characteristics on parenting behavior hood affluence was marginally associated with found that depression and poor coping were asso- less support (p = .07), with this effect being ac- ciated with poor physical environments. Mothers counted for by residence in neighborhoods with a who were depressed may not have the emotional large proportion of very affluent neighbors. That energy to provide a positive physical environment. social isolation may exist in very affluent neigh- Neighborhood poverty also was associated borhoods (compared to middle-class neighbor- with less maternal warmth and responsiveness. hoods) where neighbors may impose psychologi- Living in an impoverished neighborhood might cal as well as physical barriers (e.g., secured influence the warmth displayed to children in sev- buildings, individual entryways, fences) is a pos- eral ways, although the following is speculative. sibility not often considered. Contrary to the find- In dangerous neighborhoods, less parental ings of others (Belle, 1990; Danziger & Stern, warmth may be seen as adaptive. Parents may 1990; McLoyd & Wilson, 1991), depression was want to teach their children to adjust to a harsh not associated with family poverty nor was it as- environment. Ethnographies of poor urban fami- sociated with neighborhood poverty. One possi- lies suggest this (Jarrett, 1992), as well as studies bility for the differences in our findings for family that have found that parenting may be more au- poverty and those of others may be that we used thoritarianin poor families (McLoyd, 1990). the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ; Gold- Another possibility is that mothers, confronted berg, 1978) rather than the Center for Epidemio- with the dangers and social isolation of living in logical Studies Depression Scale (CES-D; an impoverished neighborhood, exhibit less Radloff, 1977, 1991) used by McLoyd and Wil- warmth overall. Mothers may be less amiable not son (1991). Another possibility is that given the only to their children, but to others as well. Such fairly high level of depression across the sample, behavior may be adaptive for mothers, rather than the sample range was truncated. Finally, active the result of explicit socialization for their chil- coping was associated with maternal education, dren. A third related possibility is that of collec- but not with family or neighborhood poverty. tive socialization. Social interaction between More educated mothers engaged in more active neighbors, even when it is limited and infrequent, forms of coping than less educated mothers. may serve to subtly communicate neighborhood Our results also may be interpreted in light of norms and values (Unger & Wandersman, 1985); the theoretical framework of Jencks and Mayer our findings, however, are not due to the effects (1990) who present the ways in which neighbor- of poor neighborhoods on maternal coping and hoods might affect children. They distinguish be- mental health, because these factors did not relate tween five different types of mechanisms that to maternal warmth nor did adding them to the re- may be operating, based on the following: neigh- gression reduce the neighborhood poverty find- borhood resource theories, which consider the im- ing. It is interesting that family poverty was not portance of public and private services in the associated with maternal warmth, although low neighborhood; contagion theories, which consider maternal education and being a single parent were the strength of peer behavior to influence one's associated with warmth. own behavior; collective socialization theories, What was unexpected was the lack of neigh- which posit that monitoring, supervision, and role borhood effects for the provision of learning ex- modelling affect child outcomes; competition the- periences in the home. Instead, family re- ories, which suggest that neighbors compete for sources-income, education, smaller household scarce resources; and relative deprivation theo- size, and female headship-all contributed to the ries, which posit that neighborhood effects are learning environment, as others have found due to the evaluation of one's own situation as (Bradley et al., in press). As expected, although being better or worse than one's neighbors. The not studied frequently, better coping skills and first three theories would predict that living
  13. 13. 452 Journal of Marriage and the Family among poor neighbors would have a detrimental Gunn, 1991). Maternal interaction patterns also effect on maternal characteristics and behaviors differ somewhat by child's birth weight in the 1st while living among affluent neighbors would year (Field, 1987; Field, Dempsey, & Shuman, have a beneficial effect. The last two theories, 1979; Friedman & Sigman 1991). Such differ- competition and relative deprivation, would posit ences in parenting may place low-birth-weight that living among poor neighbors would have a children at greater risk for poor developmental beneficial effect while living among affluent outcomes compared to normal-birth-weight chil- neighbors would have a negative effect. Analyses dren (Parker et al., 1988; Sameroff & Chandler, examining the effects of neighborhoods on young 1975). Thus, caution should be taken in generaliz- children have supported the contagion and social- ing these results to normal-birth-weightsamples. ization theories (Brooks-Gunn, Duncan, Kle- Another limitation is that part of the correla- banov, & Sealand, 1993; Duncan, Brooks-Gunn, tion between family resources and current neigh- & Klebanov, in press). Our current findings also borhood economic characteristics may reflect a support the contagion and socialization theories. causal connection. Affluent neighbors may pro- Poor neighbors were associated with worse physi- vide better networks to higher-paying jobs than cal home environments and with less maternal moderate-income neighbors. Because we do not warmth. In addition, finding that very affluent know the nature of the causal link but suspect it to neighbors are associated with less social support be small, our estimates of neighborhood effects provides support for competition and relative de- control for differences in family-level resource privation theories. From the standpoint of compe- and structure. It may be that the process by which tition theories, people may be seen as possible re- families select themselves into different neighbor- sources from which affluent neighbors may be hoods may impart an unknown bias in our esti- better able to obtain emotional and instrumental mates (Tienda, 1991). Moreover, there is the pos- support. On the other hand, from the standpoint sibility that the neighborhood income variable is of relative deprivation theories, the presence of capturing unmeasured dimensions of the family affluent neighbors who are able to afford neces- (e.g., permanent income) rather than pure neigh- sary childcare and household help may lead less borhood effects, more so than do neighborhood affluent neighbors to evaluate the quality and characteristics (Ellwood, 1992). availability of their support more negatively. In a similar vein, our examination of whether Our analyses include the following limitations. maternal characteristics account for some of the Our sample consists of low-birth-weight, prema- associations between family-level variables and ture infants in eight medical sites. Whether similar maternal behaviors reveals only an association results would be found for a national sample of between these variables. Because maternal char- normal-birth-weightchildren is not known. Based acteristics and behaviors are both measured at the on the results of a large study of low-birth-weight same time point, the directionality of effects can- and normal-birth-weight 8-year-old children, we not be determined, and the possibility that mater- suspect the findings may be similar. The results of nal behavior may affect maternal characteristics that study suggest that maternaleducation, ethnici- should be taken into account. ty, and female headship are associated with child Finally, it is important to emphasize that our outcomes similarly across the birth-weight spec- neighborhood-level variables are only rough prox- trum (McCormick et al., 1992). The birth of a ies of neighborhoods, since we have focused on low-birth-weight infant, however, may affect the census tracts which are composed of 4,000 to association between neighborhood-level variables 5,000 people. Smaller aggregations might be more and maternal characteristics and behaviors, al- important in terms of how individuals define though we are not aware of a data set that allows neighborhoods, perceive others' behavior, and in- for the examination of this possibility. Studies teract with their neighbors. In some sense, neigh- have found that some maternal variables are asso- borhood tract-level data are like the family-level ciated with low birth weight. In the 1st year of an data so often measured (e.g., income, education, infant's life, mothers are somewhat less likely to and family structure). These are status variables place low-birth-weight than normal-birth-weight that provide a window with which to see how fam- infants in out-of-home child care, but by the 2nd ily and neighborhood variables influence parents; and 3rd years, no differences are found (based on they may be seen as "distal causes or markers of analyses of the National Longitudinal Study of the community resources and processes" (Aber, Youth by Mott, 1991, and by Baydar & Brooks- Mitchell, Garfinkel, Allen, & Seidman, 1992).
  14. 14. Poverty and Maternal Behavior 453 In summary, these analyses reveal associations would especially like to thank James Tonascia, Pat between neighborhood indices of poverty and the Belt, and Michelle Donithan for assistance in data home environment of the child, over and above preparation and coordination as well as Rosemary Deibler for her assistance in manuscript preparation. family-level resources. Neighborhoods provide one context in which children are reared, and these neighborhoods influence parents' behavior. REFERENCES Our data provide partial evidence for Wilson's Aber, J. L., Mitchell, C., Garfinkel, R., Allen, L., & Seid- (1991a, 19991b) thesis that poor neighborhoods in- man, E. (1992, June). Indices of neighborhood im- fluence parenting-in this case the physical envi- poverishment: Their associations with adolescent ronment of the home and the warmth of the care- mental health and school achievement. 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