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07-12-2015 | Original Paper | Uitgave 5/2016

Journal of Child and Family Studies 5/2016

Material Hardships and Social Support Among Australian Families with Children

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 5/2016
Auteurs:
Jung-Sook Lee, Kyunghee Lee

Abstract

Using the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, this study examines the experiences of material hardships among Australian families with children and the role of social support in their experiences. The study sample includes 3939 children in the B-cohort (6 years old) and 4030 children in the K-cohort (10 years old). Cohort differences were observed in all analyses. The odds of experiencing material hardships were predicted by various factors apart from income. For both cohorts, material hardships had significant negative effects on maternal depression, which was a significant predictor of child outcomes. Even after controlling for income and other covariates, material hardships had significant negative effects on all outcomes of K-cohort children, but only on emotional functioning of B-cohort children. Social support was associated with the reduced odds of experiencing material hardships. Social support was also a significant predictor of all parental and child outcomes. However, the interaction effects showed that positive effects of such informal support were limited for families who already experienced material hardships. These findings suggest the importance of preventing material hardships in the first place. There is a significant role for public assistance in fulfilling the unmet needs of these families.

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