Friesen, Myron D.; Woodward, Lianne J.; Fergusson, David M.; Horwood, L. John; Chesney, Anna
May 2008
Social Policy Journal of New Zealand;May2008, Issue 33, p47
Academic Journal
The purpose of this paper is to provide a descriptive profile of the personal characteristics and socio-economic circumstances of a cohort of young parents (N = 155) who had full-time care of at least one dependent child at 25 years of age. In addition, we investigated the extent to which these families were faced with material hardship and adverse living conditions, and examined the life-course pathways and concurrent risk factors that place young families at elevated risk of material hardship. Employing longitudinal data from the Christchurch Health and Development Study, the results showed that around one in five of these young families were experiencing moderate to severe material hardship. Higher levels of material hardship were predicted by a range of antecedent and concurrent life-course experiences, including family socio-economic status in childhood, mental health problems in adolescence, family structure, and employment- and income-related factors in young adulthood. These findings are discussed in light of current social and economic policy for income maintenance, employment facilitation and welfare reduction.


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