College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Winter 3-19-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Molly Brown, PhD

Second Advisor

Kathryn Grant, PhD

Third Advisor

Yan Li, PhD


National and state level data show that families experiencing housing insecurity, especially homelessness, exhibit higher rates of child welfare involvement as compared to low-income housed families; and suggest that certain factors may increase risk of child welfare involvement for housing insecure families. The interplay between housing insecurity, social support, and depression can affect family systems in several ways including through financial and emotional transactions; however, the relation between these factors and the range of housing problems remains unclear. This dissertation assessed how negative parenting practices were impacted by the complexity of circumstances that converge under the umbrella of housing insecurity. Experiencing housing insecurity further exacerbates known risk factors for low-income families such as depression and disrupted social support systems among family and friends. The model presented in this dissertation combined theory from the determinants of parenting model (Belsky, 1984) and the family stress model (Conger, Conger, Elder, Lorenz, Simons, & Whitbeck, 1992) to examine the family processes that contribute to negative parenting practices (i.e., neglect, harsh parenting, emotional maltreatment). Through depression and social support, housing insecurity was hypothesized to have direct and specific indirect effects on negative parenting practices for families involved with child welfare services that face multiple adverse risk factors. Using longitudinal data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Wellbeing’s second cohort (NSCAW II), structural equation modeling methodology was used for analyses. Regression analyses did not show a significant association between housing insecurity and negative parenting practices mediated through depression and social support. However, supplemental analyses did support an indirect association through social support, despite the absence of a main effect of housing insecurity on negative parenting practices (Hayes, 2009). These findings suggest that further exploration of the path between housing insecurity and negative parenting practices is needed, and social support has an important role in understanding the impact and prevention of maltreatment for families experiencing housing insecurity.

SLP Collection


Included in

Psychology Commons