Home Excellence Childhood Development, Security, And Motherhood

Childhood Development, Security, And Motherhood

by GBAF mag
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One of the key points contained in the latest study findings is the fact that housing insecurity does not just affect those individuals who are responsible for paying the monthly housing bills. In fact, struggling to find an affordable place to stay affects family members of all ages, mentally as well as physically. As a result, the quality of life of everyone living in the home deteriorates over time. This deterioration of quality of life stems from the fact that persons who are affected by housing insecurity have less access to stable sources of income, such as steady employment, and thus must rely on such income sources only infrequently. For persons living in rental housing, the instability of both income and housing can add significantly to the stress involved with managing a family.

The present study finds that there is a significant relationship between housing insecurity and family Crowding. The results show that almost half (47.5%) of those families that experience some form of housing insecurity will also experience crowding at some point. The increase in crowding significantly increases for families which are overcrowded on a regular basis, i.e. during seasonal or frequent changing of address. This results in significantly increased stress levels and isolation for these households, particularly children.

The findings of this study also reveal a strong and consistent association between housing insecurity and the presence of multiple moves within a family. The results indicate that nearly one-third (34.3%) of mothers who suffer from housing insecurity report being crowded. The increase in crowding significantly increases with the increase in number of moves for mothers. Thus, the results of this research demonstrate that the multiple moves experienced by a mother during her childbearing years may exacerbate her vulnerability to depressive symptoms. As a result of their children’s crowding, many children of mothers who suffer from housing insecurity do not receive the care and support they need and require to promote healthy development.

The increased stress level and the associated disruption to family life experienced by young children living in housing insecurity are likely to have long-term consequences. The increased risk of substance abuse, teenage suicide attempts, and behavioral problems is likely to be compounded over time by the negative consequences of living in an insecure environment. These behaviors and other consequences will likely continue to influence their lives well into adulthood. This has been suggested as a likely causal factor in the increased rate of substance abuse and depression in families that are experiencing housing insecurity.

Although family composition is the primary driver of differences in health-related issues among families experiencing housing insecurity, the effects of the disparity on children younger than 18 years of age are becoming clearer. There are several reasons why this gap is most apparent in this age group. First, most young children living with families in unstable environments are exposed to more physical violence than their peers. Second, children younger than the age of 18 may also experience a lack of emotional support from their caregivers. Children who live with fewer adults and who experience less frequent communication from caregivers may also be at higher risk for the above-mentioned health issues.

To address the issues of childhood development, researchers have examined the associations between the characteristics of families that are experiencing housing insecurity and the health outcomes of their children. One approach taken by researchers is to test the link between maternal depressive symptoms and the child’s outcomes. The hypothesis is that if mothers experience depressive symptoms, they may have greater difficulty adjusting to their children’s circumstances. In a sample of 4th graders, a significant positive association was found between maternal depressive symptoms and the child’s chances of becoming less ill or being hospitalized as a teenager. The association was strongest for girls (a OR of 3.4) and for boys (an OR of 2.3).

Another approach taken to examining the associations between housing insecurity and children’s outcomes is to examine the association between it and academic achievement. A literature review revealed that families experiencing housing instability had lower educational attainment than those that were more stable. Adjustable housing also was associated with lower rates of school dropout or college enrollment. However, when the literature review accounted for differences in family income and neighborhood poverty rate, the association between housing instability and academic achievement was no longer statistically significant.

Finally, researchers have examined the associations between housing insecurity and maternal mental health. Based on a sample of mothers who were part of a sample of families experiencing temporary or chronic housing instability, mothers who lived in insecure homes had higher rates of mood disorders and poorer mental health outcomes than other mothers. Again, the analysis showed that women with unstable homes had poorer mental health than women with stable homes. The results for children of women who experienced chronic instability in their homes were similar to those for the women with the other types of problems. As the authors conclude, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests that the effects of living in an insecure housing environment are negative for both children and adults alike.

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