The Impact Of Economic Hardship On Depressive Symptomology And Family Functioning Among Middle-Class African Americans
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Type of WorkText
ProgramDoctor of Philosophy
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The Great Recession proved to have been the worst economic hardship families in the United States experienced since the Great Depression (Egan, 2015; Willis, 2009). The recession decimated the economic security of many American families, particularly those in the middle-class. Scores of empirical data show that African Americans and other minority groups were extremely vulnerable during those years. The adverse effects of the recession on middle-class families have generated new debates among governmental leaders and policy makers on how best to assist in maintaining the economic stability of those people above the poverty line. Currently, insufficient empirical data exist on the personal perceptions of African Americans on their economic hardship, as well as on any resulting personal depressive symptomology and its impact on the functioning of their families. The researcher's main objective for this dissertation was to examine whether a link was found between objective economic hardship and the perception of economic hardship with depressive symptomology and family functioning for middle-class African American/Black families, living in the United States, during and after the Great Recession. Furthermore, support variables - religious supports, social supports and personal coping strategies - were assessed for their relationship to the depressive symptomology and family functioning. To capture the empirical data, a self-reported quantitative instrument was utilized for the sample (n=201) drawn from the accessible population. One hundred and twenty six (n=126) respondents met the criteria for the study. These respondents self-identified as: (1) African American or Black; (2) Heads of households or managers of households; (3) Falling within the age range of 26-70; and (4) having lived in the United States during the years 2008-2012. Descriptive and inferential statistics shed light on the respondents' depressive symptomology and family functioning in light of their real and/o perceived economic states. Bivariate findings indicated a relationship among salient economic variables, depressive symptomology and family functioning. Multivariate results, with variables that were statistically significant at the p=.05 level from the bivariate findings, indicated that the perception of economic hardship, during the years 2013-2015, showed a relationship to both depressive symptomology and family functioning.