Problem Drinking, Social Support and Stress among Women in Poverty Course: Date: Table of Contents Abstract 3 Introduction 4 Gendered Poverty 4 Stress 5 Problem Drinking and Stress 7 Social Support 9 Implications for Policy and Research 12 Conclusion 12 References 14 Abstract This review examines the problems that females living in poverty experience, in relation to increased stress and attempts to reduce the effects of stress…
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This can lead many women to problem drinking. One approach that has been suggested for working with women in this situation is the provision of social support, which is thought to reduce susceptibility to problem drinking. Research indicates that in female of low income, prejudice makes this an ineffective tool and results in the females feeling judged without gaining any support. Consequently, the social support tool needs to be remodeled for women in low income environments so that it can act as an effective method of helping women and reducing the prevalence of problem drinking. Introduction Poverty is a prevalent issue even within developed countries, and people living in poverty experience many health problems. The most evident of these is malnutrition due to a lack of food; however, there are also many behavioral and social issues that also arise. In the United States, rates of poverty have increased as a result of the global financial crisis, which has led to a decrease in job availability (Jacobsen & Mather, 2011). Females are strongly affected by poverty, and families that are headed by women have a much higher likelihood of being impoverished than similar male headed households (Wright, 2011, pp. 49-59). One problem that is prevalent in women that live in poverty is an increased level of stress. This stress can become overwhelming for many women in this situation, resulting in a significant proportion turning to drinking alcohol as a method to alleviate stress. However, alcohol is not an effective method to relieve stress, and can quickly turn into alcohol abuse, which can in turn increase the amount of stress that the woman is under. Gendered Poverty For a person to be considered as living in poverty, they must lack the money to reliability afford to meet their needs. For example, a family may have the finances to feed themselves most of the time, but there may be a few days of the month where they cannot eat sufficiently due to lack of income. Many western definitions of poverty are broader than this technical definition, and consider poverty as where a person has a low standard of living, even though they may be able to afford food and accommodation (U.S. Census Bureau, 2011). Therefore, a family may be living in poverty if they are able to pay rent and buy food, but their income is below a certain level, and they have difficulty buying new clothing. Research shows that the prevalence of poverty is strongly related to gender, and that females are more likely to be impoverished than males (Wright, 2011, pp. 49-59). This trend is especially true when households with children are examined. An examination of food security, which can be used a proxy for poverty, showed that in the United States 23.7% of households that were headed by solely by a female experienced low food security, while 19.5% of households headed only by males identified themselves as having low food security. Food security is a measure of how much confidence a person has that they will have access to enough food to remain healthy (Nord et al., 2010). On average, there is a substantial gap between the wages that females and males earn. For a female that does not have a partner, this means either working longer hours to money, or living on a lower wage (Gneezy, Leonard, & List, 2009).
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