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Elder, Glen H., Jr.; Conger, Rand D.; Foster, E. Michael; & Ardelt, Monika (1992). Families under Economic Pressure. Journal of Family Issues, 13(1), 5-37.


Within a context of increasing economic pressure in rural America, this study assesses family responses to this change and their consequences from the perspective of the household economy in middle-class families. It draws on the findings of largely separate fields of inquiry, including those on income level and loss, unemployment, and economic adjustments. Using survey and observational data on two-parent families in a midwestern rural county, the analysis shows that (a) adverse income change increases economic pressures and hardship adaptations in ways that match the effect of income level and exceed the influence of unstable work, (b) economic pressures and adaptations mediate the negative effects of economic adversity on emotional health and family relationships, (c) father's negativity in the family represents a stronger link between economic conditions and child behavior than does mother's negativity, and (d) economic pressure and father's negativity increase the risk of aggressive behavior and depressed feelings among boys and girls, especially in the absence of maternal support.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Family Issues


Elder, Glen H., Jr.
Conger, Rand D.
Foster, E. Michael
Ardelt, Monika