School-aged children often turn to their primary caregiver, such as a mother, father, or other close relative, for support in dealing with difficult situations. This cross-sectional, school-based study examined whether urban, lower-income African American caregivers' stressful life events, affective symptoms, and perceived support from their social network were associated with their children's perceptions of support from and conflict with the caregiver. Forty-six African American children aged 8-12 years and a primary caregiver were recruited from a partnering Midwestern United States elementary school and separately interviewed. Results showed that caregivers' report of greater support from their social network across a variety of domains was associated with children's report of greater instrumental support from their caregiver. Caregivers' report of greater attachment to members of their social network was associated with children's report of greater emotional support from their caregiver. Implications of findings for mental health promotion among children and families are discussed.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the University of Minnesota Medical School Program in Health Disparities Research [ PHDR-2008-012 ]; and the National Transdisciplinary Collaborative Center for African American Men's Health [ 1U54MD008620-01 ]. The authors gratefully acknowledge the support and contributions of the following individuals: Lauren Mammini, MPH; Sonja Ausen-Anifrani, MPH; Nancy Spack, Family & Community Liaison; Delores Henderson, PhD; Steve Schellenberg, PhD; Michael Golden, MPH; Rhonda Jones-Webb, PhD; and members of the Minnesota Association of Black Psychologists. Ms. Kenigsberg is now Evaluation Fellow (ORISE) within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- African Americans
- Perceived parental support
- Social networks