Economic status, community danger and psychological problems among South African children

SOURCE: Childhood: A Global Journal of Child Research
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2001
TITLE AUTHOR(S): O.A.Barbarien, L.Richter
KEYWORDS: CARE OF CHILDREN, CHILDREN, POVERTY, PSYCHOLOGICAL PROBLEMS, SOCIO- ECONOMIC STATUS
DEPARTMENT: Human and Social Development (HSD)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 2216

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Abstract

An extensive literature links community violence and poverty in the US to psychological difficulties in children. To test the cross-national generalizability of these relationships, 625 young South African mothers residing in black townships with different levels of community danger and material hardship rated their 6-year-olds on emotional functioning and behavioural problems. Most mothers were African, employed and of low educational attainment. Community danger was confirmed as a risk factor for anxiety, depression, aggression, opposition and low affability in children. A composite measure of socio-economic status as indexed by education and job status was unrelated to behavioural and emotional adjustment. However, children experiencing material hardship had fewer problems related to behavioural self-control than children in families with greater access to material resources.