The University of Wisconsin Press

Political Science - Public Policy / Health / Sociology - Marriage and Family


Painful Inheritance
Health and the New Generation of Fatherless Families
Ronald J. Angel and Jacqueline L. Angel

Life Course Studies
David I. Kertzer and David L. Featherman, Series Editors

Nearly half of black children and a quarter of Hispanic children live apart from their biological fathers, and single motherhood is on the increase among all population groups in the United States.

Painful Inheritance is the first comprehensive examination of the impact of single motherhood on the physical and mental health of women and their children. Based on solid scientific information, it documents serious, long-term health consequences associated with the poverty and social disorganization in which such families often live.

Ronald J. Angel and Jacqueline L. Angel show that the elevated health risks associated with single motherhood are largely the result of factors related to social class, including early motherhood and chronic poverty. They demonstrate the dependency of single mothers and their children on health-related social welfare programs and document how under Social Security and Medicare the old have benefited economically at the expense of the young. Today, poverty is concentrated among families with children, a disproportionate number of which are fatherless. The evidence presented here makes it clear that the physical, mental, and social health consequences of that poverty will be felt by society for generations to come.

The Angels look at the potential consequences of legislative changes in health-related federal and state welfare programs, and they assess the effects that coming changes in the organization and financing of medical care will have on the health of poor, single women and their children. In revealing the complexity of the situation, Painful Inheritance communicates a clear message that the worsening economic circumstances of poor, minority fatherless families simply cannot be ignored if many members of our future generations are not to suffer some degree of physical or mental impairment.

Ronald J. Angel is professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin and the editor of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior. Jacqueline L. Angel is lecturer in sociology at the University of Texas at Austin and author of Health and Living Arrangements of the Elderly.

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Fall 1993
LC: 93-018788 RA
288 pg.    6 x 9

Book icon Paper $19.95 s
Book icon Cloth $55.00 s
ISBN 978-0-299-13960-5
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