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The relationships between child well-being, caregiving stress, and social engagement among informal and formal kinship care families

Ching-Hsuan Lin

Children and Youth Services Review, 2018, vol. 93, issue C, 203-216

Abstract: Children in kinship care families are increasing in number. These children can be vulnerable due to adverse experiences before the placement and exposure to risk factors associated with social isolation in kinship care families. However, the well-being of children in kinship care families and associated factors are understudied. This study investigates child health and psychological well-being among kinship care families and associated factors: caregiving stress and social engagement of kinship caregivers. Data from 1623 kinship care families in the 1999 and 2002 National Survey of America's Families were analyzed to examine whether caregiving stress and child well-being are related and whether social engagement moderates this relationship. Kinship family type was also examined as a potential moderator. Findings reveal that caregiving stress is related to children's higher levels of behavioral problems, but is not significantly related to children's health. Social engagement is found to be a significant moderator; specifically, kinship caregiver weekly engagement in volunteer activities buffers the negative effects of caregiving stress on children's behavior for younger children (aged 6–11). Informal kinship families are found to be a more protective caregiving environment for older children (aged 12–17) to adjust the negative effects of caregiving stress. The significant findings are expected to contribute to field practices with kinship care families and to child welfare research on child well-being and social support among kinship care families.

Keywords: Kinship care family; Kinship foster care; Child well-being; Caregiving stress; Social engagement (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Handle: RePEc:eee:cysrev:v:93:y:2018:i:c:p:203-216