Family Economic Stress and Adjustment of Early Adolescent Girls

Rand D. Conger, Katherine J. Conger, Glen H. Elder, Frederick O. Lorenz, Ronald L. Simons, Les B. Whitbeck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

381 Scopus citations


A family process model is proposed that links economic stress in family life to prosocial and problematic adolescent adjustment. With a sample of 220 7th-grade girls living in intact families in the rural Midwest, the theoretical constructs in the model were measured using both trained observer and family member reports. In general, results were consistent with the proposed model. Economic pressures led to depression and demoralization for both parents, the result of which was greater marital conflict and disruptions in skillful parenting. The emotions and behaviors of both mothers and fathers were almost equally affected by financial difficulties, and disruptions in each parent's child-rearing behaviors had adverse consequences for adolescent development. Parents' depressed mood and disrupted child-rearing practices both directly affected girls' adjustment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)206-219
Number of pages14
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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