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Sometimes, a Helping Hand Isn't Enough

Study: Low-income women need financial assistance to reduce stress

THURSDAY, May 16, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- African-American women living in low-income neighborhoods are healthier when they have not only someone to help them on a regular basis, but also get government aid, says a new study from the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

Contrary to previous research, this study suggests that financial help -- especially for child care and transportation -- must supplement emotional support from family and friends for African-American women handling stress associated with living in low-income communities.

The study included interviews with 679 African-American women, 18 and older, living in predominately low-income neighborhoods on the east side of Detroit.

Women with the highest levels of chronic stress, including money and family concerns, were more likely to say they were in poor health than women with low stress. The women with high stress were also more likely to have symptoms of depression.

The study appears in the June issue of the journal Health Education and Behavior.

The authors say their findings suggest a need for better health education, policies to strengthen support for these women, and changes to reduce stressful conditions in low-income communities.

SOURCE: June 2002 Health Education and Behavior
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