studies confirmed the cluster of economic insecurity and decline, poor parental mental health, punitive and less involved parenting, and poor adolescent outcomes. But there are important exceptions. Among the farm families and children, some became more involved in social institutions, such as schools and churches, and the adolescents ' resilience had much to do with their connections to these social influences (Elder Jr. and Conger, 2000).

Two studies have focused on young children. In one, reduced financial resources among black, rural, single-parent families were associated with lower maternal self-esteem, and lower self-esteem was associated with deterioration in family routines and the quality of mother-child interactions (Brody and Flor, 1997). These family processes were related to 6- to 9-year-olds' self-regulation, which in turn was associated with both academic and behavioral problems. A second study (Harnish et al., 1995) of ethnically diverse low-income children entering first grade found that the quality of mother-child interaction partially accounted for the effects of socioeconomic status and maternal depressive symptomatology on children's externalizing behavior.

Substance abuse constitutes another risk factor associated with decreased mental health and economic hardship among parents (Table 10-1). Research on children of substance-abusing parents has focused largely on drug exposure during pregnancy and children's subsequent developmental outcomes (Harden, 1998; Mayes, 1995; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1999c). Since the effects of drugs vary dramatically by drug type, substance-abusing parents may display a variety of patterns of impaired parenting. For example, drugs such as alcohol or marijuana may depress parents' moods, possibly resulting in withdrawn behavior, whereas cocaine may increase activity and elevate moods, possibly resulting in unpredictable or impulsive behavior.

Few empirical studies have evaluated parenting among substance-abusing parents. Most of the evidence comes from studies that have documented high occurrences of abuse and neglect among these parents; more harsh, negative, angry, threatening, and punitive interactions; and less responsiveness to their children (Bauman and Dougherty, 1983; Bernstein et al., 1986; Colten, 1980; Leif, 1985). However, because drug abuse often co-occurs with other psychiatric problems and disadvantaged circumstances, it is hard to know whether the parenting practices of substance-abusing parents are uniquely impaired by their drug habits (Mayes, 1995).

Finally, both the reporting and incidence of child maltreatment are higher among low-income than high-income families (Table 10-1; Trickett et al., 1991; Waldfogel, 1998). Studies of the etiology of child maltreatment suggest that while child abuse and neglect capture different behaviors, children who are abused are also often neglected, and differences in



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement