Is it Generalized Anxiety Disorder or Poverty? An Examination of Poor Mothers and Their Children
This paper addresses generalized anxiety disorder in poor families and argues that DSM definitions have led to an expansion in the domains of what is considered disorder. Social factors, which are importantly involved in many samples used to study GAD, have been overlooked. This was a secondary analysis of data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (N = 4,898). The findings confirmed that the poorest mothers had greater odds of being classified as having generalized anxiety disorder. We also conducted a structural equation model. Our findings suggest that anxiety in poor mothers is not psychiatric, but a reaction to severe environmental deficits. Thus assessment and interventions should be targeted at the environmental level and diagnostic labels should be used judiciously.
KeywordsGeneralized anxiety disorder Poor mothers and their children Structural equation modeling
- Achenbach, T. M., & Rescorla, L. A. (2000). Manual for the ASEBA Preschool Forms & Profiles. Burlington, VT: University of Vermont, Research Center for Children, Youth, & Families.Google Scholar
- Blazer, D., Hughes, D., & George, L. K. (1991). Generalized anxiety disorder. In L. N. Robins & D. A. Regier (Eds.), Psychiatric disorders in America: The epidemiologic catchment area study (pp. 180–230). New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
- Brown, T. A., O’Leary, T. A., & Barlow, D. H. (1993). Generalized anxiety disorder. In D. H. Barlow (Ed.), Clinical handbook of psychological disorders: A step-by-step treatment manual (2nd ed., pp. 137–188). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Caldwell, B. M., & Bradley, R. H. (2001). HOME inventory and administration manual (3rd ed.). Little Rock: University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and University of Arkansas.Google Scholar
- Carlson, B. L., & Mathematica Policy Research (April, 2008). Fragile families & child. Wellbeing study: A brief guide to using mother, father, and couple replicate weights for core telephone surveys wave 1–4. From: http://www.fragilefamilies.princeton.edu/documentation/core/weights/const_ffwgts.pdf. Accessed September 10, 2011.
- Fanti, K. A., & Henrich, C. C. (2010). Trajectories of pure and co-occuring internalizing and externalizing problems from age 2 to age 12: Findings from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care. Developmental Psychology, 46, 1159–1175.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Horwitz, A. V., & Wakefield, J. C. (2007). The loss of sadness: How psychiatry transformed normal sorrow into depressive disorder. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Kessler, R. C., Walters, E. E., & Wittchen, H.-U. (2004). Epidemiology. In R. G. Heimberg, C. L. Turk, & D. S. Mennin (Eds.), Generalized anxiety disorders: Advances in research and practice (pp. 29–50). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (2010). Mplus user’s guide (6th ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Muthén & Muthén.Google Scholar
- Turner, S. M., Beidel, D. C., & Costello, A. (1987). Psychopathology in the offspring of anxiety disorders patients. Psychopathology, 55(2), 229–235.Google Scholar
- Wakefield, J. C. (1994). Is the concept of mental disorder culturally relative? In S. Kirk & S. Einbinder (Eds.), Controversial issues in mental health (pp. 11–17). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar