Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Anxiety Disorders in Poor Mothers More Likely to be the Result of Poverty, not Mental Illness

20.07.2012
Poor mothers are more likely to be classified as having the mental illness known as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) because they live in poverty – not because they are suffering from a psychiatric disorder, according to Rutgers researchers.

Judith C. Baer, an associate professor in the School of Social Work, and her team, in the study, “Is it Generalized Anxiety Disorder or Poverty?

An Examination of Poor Mothers and Their Children,” published online in Child and Adolescent Social Work, argue that although high levels of stress over long periods can lead to psychological problems, there is no evidence that generalized anxiety disorder in poor mothers is because of an “internal malfunction.”

The findings confirm earlier studies that the poorest mothers have the greater odds of being classified as having generalized anxiety disorder. But Baer and her team wrote, “...there is no evidence for a malfunction of some internal mechanism. Rather, “there is a physical need in the real world that is unmet and produces anxiety.”

“The distinction is important because there are different ways to treat the problem,” Baer said. “While supportive therapy and parent skills-training are often helpful, sometimes the most appropriate intervention is financial aid and concrete services.”

Rutgers researchers argue that changing and broadening definitions for GAD have caused, in some cases, mental health experts to categorize the reactions of these mothers to the extreme conditions they face daily as symptoms of the anxiety disorder.

Baer’s team has been exploring relationships between poor mothers and their children and whether links between poverty and maternal anxiety might play a part in their offspring developing anxiety of their own.

The latest research by Baer and colleagues MiSung Kim, who completed her doctorate in May, and Bonnie Wilkenfeld, a doctoral candidate, analyzed data from the ongoing Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study with 4,898 participants conducted at Princeton University, consisting of surveys and home observations when children were 3-years-old. It confirmed that the poorest mothers had greater odds of being classified as having GAD but that the path from anxiety to parenting stress was not supported.

“This suggests that mothers can be poor and anxious, but still provide positive parenting for their children,” Baer said.

Currently, psychiatric diagnoses are based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which uses symptom-based criteria to determine disorders. Recent versions do not consider context, such as poverty conditions, in determining diagnoses, Baer said.

“Our findings suggest that anxiety in poor mothers is usually not a psychiatric problem but a reaction to severe environmental deficits,” she continued. “Thus, assessment should include careful attention to contextual factors and environmental deficits as playing a role in the presentation of symptoms. Labeling an individual with a diagnosis, especially if it is inaccurate, has a serious social stigma.”

Media Contact: Steve Manas
732-932-7084, ext. 612
E-mail: smanas@ur.rutgers.edu

Steve Manas | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.rutgers.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Salmonella as a tumour medication

HZI researchers developed a bacterial strain that can be used in cancer therapy

Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Symposium on Driving Simulation

23.10.2017 | Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microfluidics probe 'cholesterol' of the oil industry

23.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Gamma rays will reach beyond the limits of light

23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The end of pneumonia? New vaccine offers hope

23.10.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>