Poverty Destroys American Families

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Matthew Davenport
PSCH 303
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Poverty Destroys American Families

My paper is about the effects of poverty on the African-American family. I want to explore how the absence of fathers and adequate finances leads to poor mental health and self-efficacy in low-income neighborhoods. My thesis is that the effects of poverty are the most important social factor that contributes to the academic and economic underachievement of Blacks in America.

1. Anderson, Elaine A. and Julie K. Kohler. 2005. Predictors of Depression Among Low-Income, Nonresidential Factors. Journal of Family Issues, vol. 26 No. 5, 547 – 567.

This article investigates the life conditions that contribute to low-income fathers’ depression and that may jeopardize their relationships with their children. The sample consisted of 127African American participants in two urban rural responsible fatherhood programs. 56% reported depressive symptoms indicating cause for clinical concern. Significantly, lack of finances and resources were significant predictors of father’s depression.

2. Blake, Reynard. “Beyond the Bling: A Look at Hip-Hop, African-American Leadership & The Black Churches Implications to African-American Youth Development.” The Online Journal of Urban Youth Culture. (February 2003). http://www.juyc.org/current/0302/blake. html.

This article examines the effects of hip hop images on poor families. The article points to images of excessive materialism and degraded women as promoting negative role models to children who already lack family structure. Thus, they are being raised by unhealthy images of manhood that are televised. The article makes a point in that many rap artists refer to the absence of a father in their raps as a burden on their lives that effects their human perspectives.

3. Hoffman, Kristi. 2005. Physical Violence Between Siblings: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis. Journal of Family Issues, Vol. 26 No. 8, 211 – 242.

This article examines the ages and frequencies of acts of physical violence amongst male and female siblings. It does not necessarily deal with the topic of my paper although I was going to attempt to compare any relevant research findings to acts of violence committed amongst African Americans. I was specifically looking for specific causes of violent acts.

4. Letieq, Bethany L. and Sally A. Koblinsky. Parenting in Violent Neighborhoods: African-American Fathers Share Strategies for Keeping Children Safe. Journal of Family Issues, vol. 25 No. 6, 715 – 734.

This study examines the strategies that African American fathers employ to protect preschoolers from community violence. The fathers in the study devoted significant energy to supervising and managing their young children’s behavior. Fathers shielded their preschoolers from potentially dangerous people and situations and were passionate in promoting education as a means of focus.

5. Meyer, Laura. 2004. An Exploration of the Grandparent Caregiver Role. Journal of Family Issues, Vol. 25 No. 8, 1005 – 1025.

This study explores the role transition from grandparent to grandparent caregiver. Participants were female, low income, married with an average age of 53. In this study, behaviors are the major focus in the context of the grandparent-grandchild family structure. The hypothesis is that the grandparent-grandchild family type is relatively unstructured and lacks the formality of organization. The lack of family structure is what leads to low academic achievement.

6. Murray, Velma McBride. Self-Regulation and Self-Worth of Black Children Reared in Economically Stressed, Rural, Single Mother-Headed Families: The Contribution of Risk and Protective Factors. Journal of Family Issues, vol. 20 No. 4, 458 – 484.

This study examines any linkages between family structure, economic status and quality of life from a...
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