Parenting in the context of poverty is accompanied by heightened stress and heightened stakes. How parents respond to poverty-related stress has important implications for family functioning, but research investigating individual differences in low-income mothers' and fathers' responses to financial stress and their associations with parents' concurrent psychosocial adaptation is lacking. A better understanding of differences in stress responses among low-income parents is required to develop and tailor prevention programs that meet these families' needs. This study applies latent profile analysis (LPA) to identify and describe profiles of financial stress responses (problem solving, emotion regulation, emotion expression, cognitive restructuring, positive thinking, acceptance, distraction, denial, avoidance, wishful thinking, rumination, intrusive thoughts, emotional arousal, physiologic arousal, impulsive action, emotional numbing, cognitive interference, escape, and inaction) and examines associations between profile membership and psychosocial functioning in low-income parents. Five profiles were identified that were distinguished by self-reported voluntary and involuntary financial stress responses: active (32% of sample), low (11%), high (11%), negative cognitive (NC; 17%), and average (29%) responders. Notable differences emerged on measures of life stress, economic hardship, psychopathology, and social support, with individuals in the NC responders profile reporting the most difficulty and members of the active responders profile reporting the greatest adaptation. These findings offer a more nuanced understanding of how mothers and fathers respond to chronic poverty-related stress and have valuable implications for intervention efforts to promote adaptive stress responses and psychosocial functioning in low-income families.
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