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Financial Distress and Depressive Symptoms among African American Women: Exploring the Role of Religious Coping and Social Support

Starkey, Angelica JoNel (2011) Financial Distress and Depressive Symptoms among African American Women: Exploring the Role of Religious Coping and Social Support. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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OBJECTIVE: Previous research demonstrated that financial distress is associated with depressive symptoms, and that religiosity/spirituality buffer the effects. Yet, research on the interaction between these factors or what factors may contribute to financial distress is limited. The purpose of this study was: 1) to examine the relationship between perceived financial distress and depressive symptoms; 2) to identify financial priorities and needs that may contribute to financial distress; and 3) to explore if religious coping and/or social support act as moderators in the relationship between financial distress and depressive symptoms.METHODS: Surveys from 111 African American women, ages 18-44, who reside in Allegheny County, PA were used to gather demographic information and measures of depressive symptoms, financial distress, social support, and religious coping. Correlation and regression were used to examine relationships. Two open-ended questions were analyzed to assess priorities and needs. RESULTS: Perceived financial distress was significantly associated with levels of depressive symptoms. Priorities identified by the participants were paying bills and debt, saving, purchasing a home or making home repairs, and/or helping others. Needs identified by the participants were tangible assistance and/or financial education. Religious coping (total, internal, and external) and total social support were not moderators between perceived financial distress and depressive symptoms. However, tangible social support was found to be a moderator, in that higher levels resulted in lower levels of depressive symptoms for individuals with high and average levels of financial distress. CONCLUSION: Ways to manage and alleviate financial distress as well as identifying organizations, programs, services, and or individuals that can provide tangible social support should be considered when addressing the mental health of African American women.PUBLIC HEALTH SIGNIFICANCE: Perceived financial distress is significantly associated with levels of depressive symptoms and this can be used to create new and/or enhance existing programs, services, and/or interventions that not only focus on and treat women at risk for depression but that also address personal finances and tangible support. This finding also draws attention to the need for collaborative efforts among professionals in different disciplines.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Starkey, Angelica
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairTerry, Martha Annmaterry@pitt.eduMATERRY
Committee MemberKeane, Christopher Rcrkcity@pitt.eduCRKCITY
Committee MemberRicci, Edmund Memricci@pitt.eduEMRICCI
Committee MemberMarx, John Hjmarx@pitt.eduJMARX
Date: 29 June 2011
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 6 April 2011
Approval Date: 29 June 2011
Submission Date: 7 April 2011
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: DrPH - Doctor of Public Health
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Culture; Economic Strain; Financial hardship; Protective factors; Risk factors; Depression; Mental Illness
Other ID:, etd-04072011-144859
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:35
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:38


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