Families as support and burden: a mixed methods exploration of the extent to which family identification and support predicts reductions in stress among disadvantaged neighbourhood residents

Abstract

Stronger family relationships predict positive health outcomes: a relationship that is partially due to the range of emotional, practical and informational support that families can provide. Yet not all families possess these resources. A survey study in a disadvantaged community in Nottingham, UK (N=142) demonstrated that family identification positively predicts ability to cope with financial stress, but that this relationship is moderated by whether family support is present or absent. Semi-structured interviews with 10 members of different families from the same community shed further light upon the nature of this relationship: individuals report that they tend to turn to their family rather than friends or community services in times of financial hardship, even though their family are unlikely to be able to support them effectively, and that this is often due to feelings of embarrassment or finance-related stigma. Our findings highlight the complex role that families can play in finance-related issues, as well as the need to encourage individuals to seek financial support from sources which provide effective (rather than emotionally comfortable) assistance

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