The Great Recession severely disrupted the economy and led to an unprecedented fall in customer confidence, as well as large spikes in the unemployment and foreclosure rates. Yet its impact on parenting and child well-being is still poorly understood. Harsh economic conditions may result in harsh parenting practices, as parents respond to the fear and stress associated with deteriorating economic conditions—but little is currently known about the extent of such responses in the Great Recession.
In a new paper, the Columbia Population Research Center’s Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, William Schneider, and Jane Waldfogel offer new insight into the connection between economic distress and child well-being. Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS), the authors investigate whether the Great Recession was associated with increased use of high-frequency maternal spanking, which previous studies have shown elevates the risk of child abuse.