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The Impact Of Economic Crisis On Marital Life In Romania

1645 words - 7 pages

The collapse of socialism in Eastern Europe during the late 1980s has resulted in the political, economic, and social transformation of many former communist bloc countries. Over the past decade, Romania, similar to other East European countries, has moved toward a democratic political system, a capitalistic economy, and personal liberty, including independent and freely functioning families. However, the rapid and often chaotic rebuilding of the economic and political systems has created instability and placed families and communities under severe economic pressure (Tesliuc, Pop, & Tesliuc, 2001). The closure of several state-run industries, the lack of capital investments in new manufacturing and technological industries, and the decline of the agricultural sector have created considerable worker unemployment, underemployment, and job insecurity (Robila, 2003; Zamfir, 2001).The post-communist period has been economically difficult for many Romanian families. During the period 1991–1993, the poverty rate was 22% (poverty level was defined as 60% of average household consumption expenditure per adult; World Bank, 1997), it rose significantly during the period 1995–1999 (Tesliuc et al., 2001), and by the year 2000, 44% of the Romanian population was living at or below the poverty level (Government of Romania, 2001). The poverty rate in Romania is among the highest of the former communist nations (World Bank, 2000). Within the context of rising prices, limited governmental subsidies, and unemployment, many Romanian families experience high levels of economic strain (Zamfir, 2001).Family economic situations assessed through family incomes (e.g., salaries and dividends), unstable employment, loss of employment, and family assets and debts have been associated with emotional negativity and family disruptions (e.g., Conger & Elder, 1994; Conger et al., 1990, 2002). Researchers (e.g., Conger & Elder, 1994) have suggested that deprived family economic situations are associated with economic pressure/distress, which is in turn associated with intense emotional reactions and negative consequences for families (Lorenz, Conger, & Montague, 1994). Economic pressure or distress, conceptualized as the family's perceived financial inability to meet family necessities, is distinguished from economic conditions that include more structural indicators of poverty (e.g., Conger et al., 1990, 2002). In this study, we examined the impact of economic pressure on family relationships within the Romanian context. Drawing from Conger's family stress model of economic stress (e.g., Conger & Elder, 1994; Conger et al., 2002), we propose that economic pressure is associated with higher levels of emotional distress, which in turn are associated with increased conflict within the marital relationship. Also included within this proposed conceptual pathway is the role of social support, which functions as an intervening variable between economic...

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