According to Miller and Chen (2013), children that were raised in families with low socioeconomic status were more likely to develop respiratory illnesses, as well as some chronic illnesses, including autoimmune diseases and different types of cancers. Exposure to secondhand smoke, malnutrition, neglect and abuse can lead to the development of various diseases (e.g. respiratory diseases or lung cancer). Moreover, children who lived in such families often had poor self-regulation skills that could result in obesity or smoking/drinking (Miller & Chen, 2013). Santiago, Kaltman, and Miranda (2013) point out that different conditions related to poverty can also result in the development of PTSD, depression, and anxiety in children because of their exposure to violence. Such exposure can also lead to an increased risk of alcohol and drug abuse (i.e. development of addictive behaviors) (Santiago et al., 2013).
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Single parents can be at risk of developing cardiovascular diseases due to the possible stress that is caused by the parent’s responsibility for the family’s quality of life and the future of their child. Due to high exposure to stress, single parents who live in poverty can also suffer from insomnia and the resulting headache and mood swings, as well as a lack of concentration (Almendrala, 2016). Insomnia can lead to the development of depression and anxiety, as well as constant fatigue. As it can be seen, living in poverty adversely influences the physical and mental health of single parents.
There are multiple community services available in Phoenix, AZ metro area. For example, Fresh Start Women’s Resource Center provides workshops, counseling, and other services for women who have to experience any transition (divorce, abuse, planned/unplanned pregnancy, etc.) in their life (“Best 10 community service”, 2017, para. 3). Non-profit community organization Pathway for Youth mentors teenagers and young adults at risk. HandsOn Greater Phoenix is a non-profit organization that consists of volunteers who address and work on community issues (education, animal welfare, homelessness, etc.). St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance provides free food for homeless people or people with a complex financial background (“Best 10 community service”, 2017, para. 1). Emergency food boxes are supplied to those in need; the organization also provides child nutrition programs for children living in poverty, as well as recruits employees who face employment barriers to the community kitchen. The organization also offers volunteering programs for those who are willing to help resolve community issues.
As a nurse, I can help and counsel first-time mothers about the necessary activities performed throughout pregnancy that will decrease the risk of diseases common in single parents who live in poverty (mental illnesses, colds, chronic respiratory diseases, etc.). If necessary, I can help children with abusive parents/mentors seek help and educate them about the influence of abuse on their health and later life, as well as ensure that they receive the necessary support from the local government. Furthermore, I can also provide counseling services and education to teenagers from families that live in poverty to ensure that there are no unplanned pregnancies. Such adolescents often need to be educated about sexually transmitted diseases, as well as parental abuse. If an unplanned pregnancy can result in adolescent homelessness, I will need to consult them about pregnancy prevention methods and programs that can support them in case of parental abuse related to an unplanned pregnancy. Adolescents that are at risk of being malnourished can be consulted about the existing programs that provide free food and meals to families in poverty. Adults that live in poverty might not know about food stamps. My responsibility as a nurse will be to explain to them how they can initiate the process of applying for food stamps and guide them throughout the process.
Almendrala, A. (2016). Almost half of single moms struggle with this health problem. Web.
Best 10 community service. (2017). Web.
Miller, G. E., & Chen, E. (2013). The biological residue of childhood poverty. Child Development Perspectives, 7(2), 67-73.
Santiago, C. D., Kaltman, S., & Miranda, J. (2013). Poverty and mental health: How do low‐income adults and children fare in psychotherapy? Journal of Clinical Psychology, 69(2), 115-126.