Term of Award

Summer 2022

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Department

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Jeff Klibert

Committee Member 1

Dorthie Cross-Mokdad

Committee Member 2

Amanda Rickard

Abstract

Poverty, typically measured by economic well-being or depravation, is the result of systemic flaws built into the structure of society that adversely impact multiple dimensions of health and well-being. The specific stressors that disproportionately impact low-income individuals are called poverty-based stressors, and they encompass multiple categories of risk including physical, psychosocial, and financial risks. Currently, there is not an adequate measure of poverty-based stressors for low-income adults in the United States (U.S.), which restricts our ability to accurately determine the effects of poverty on important health-related outcomes. The purpose of this dissertation was to develop a psychometrically sound measure of poverty-based stress using rigorous analyses and statistical procedures with a sample of lower SES adults located in the U.S. Three separate studies were conducted in order to evaluate the psychometric properties of the measure. The first study identified an adequate factor structure for the items that comprised the measure. Exploratory factor analyses produced a three-factor solution: Housing Dysfunction, Financial Dysfunction, and Noise Dysfunction. The correlations between the factors were strong. Using confirmatory analytic procedures, the second study confirmed that the 3-factor solution identified in the first study provided solid fit, approaching good fit, to the data. The third and final study further indicated that the 3-factor solution provided good fit to the data. In addition, internal and temporal consistency, convergent validity, predictive validity (i.e., depression, anxiety, resilience, flourishing) were all high. In total, these results suggest the 3-factor solution underlying my assessment is an excellent measure of poverty-based stressors. Results also highlighted demographic differences (i.e., ethnicity, rurality) in reports of poverty-based stress. It appears African American/Black participants residing in rural areas report the highest rates of poverty-based stressors, particularly those related to housing dysfunction. Overall, these results offer some unique perspectives that should extend the literature pertaining to poverty-based stress.

Research Data and Supplementary Material

No

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