257058 Household instability in low-income neighborhoods

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Randolph Devereaux, PhD, MSPH , Department of Community Medicine, Mercer University School of Medicine, Macon, GA
Brad Lian, PhD , College of Human & Environmental Services, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
John Bolland, Ph.D. , College of Human & Environmental Services, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
Children growing up in economically impoverished neighborhoods may often experience disruption and instability regarding their living arrangements. The scope and extent of the instability is unclear however, because community-based longitudinal data on youths from such neighborhoods are rare. Consequently, the influence of instability on adolescent outcomes is unclear.

We report residential moves and changes in parental figures using data from the Mobile Youth Survey (MYS) from 2005-2009 (N = 679) and examine outcomes associated with these changes. The MYS is a longitudinal study of poverty and adolescent risk that has been conducted annually since 1998 in the most impoverished neighborhoods in the Mobile, AL metropolitan area. The survey is comprised of 406 items concerning a variety of psychosocial measures and risk-related behaviors.

Approximately 20% of the respondents reŽport a change in mother figure each year, and 42% report at least one change over the 5-year period. Father figure changes are more prevalent (40% each year and 67% over 5 years). Residential moves are also common (13%/year and 44%/5-year). Repeated measures analyses, using a lagged deŽpendŽent variable (t – 1) and controlling for the dependent variable at time t (as well as for age, gender, and neighborhood), shows inŽstability predicts such attitudes and risk behaviors as hopelessness and weapons carrying (ps < .01).

Changes in living arrangements are not uncommon and can affect adolescents, perhaps especially those growing up in low-income neighborhoods. Researchers and practitioners should recognize and address issues regarding family stability and its influence on children's development.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe 3 types of household instability. Compare prevalence rates of 3 types of household instability in low-income neighborhoods. Identify outcomes associated with various types of household instability in low-income neighborhoods.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an Assistant Professor in Community Medicine and have worked in economically impoverished neighborhoods for years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.