EN ES
Vol. 20. Num. 1. 2011. Pages 13-24

Social Support and Personal Agency in At-Risk Mothers

[Apoyo Social y Agencia Personal en Madres en Situación de Riesgo]

Rodrigo, María José Byrne, Sonia

Abstract

This study investigated: a) mothers´ use and satisfaction with informal and formal supports in at-risk psychosocial contexts, and b) the relationships between satisfaction with help and the mothers´ perception of their role (personal agency). Self-report data about the use and satisfaction with sources of help, and levels of internal control, self-efficacy, couple agreement, role difficulty and motivation for change were obtained from 519 mothers referred by Social Services and 519 non-referred mothers. Results indicated that at-risk mothers relied less upon close informal support and more on formal support than non atrisk mothers. They were also more satisfied with the formal sources of support and had lower levels of personal agency. There were beneficial effects of satisfaction with informal help and school support on several aspects of personal agency for both groups. However, satisfaction with school and social services support had a detrimental effect on couple agreement in the at-risk group. Implications of the results for providing social support to at-risk families are discussed.

Resumen

El presente estudio investiga: a) el uso y la satisfacción con las fuentes de apoyo informal y formal de las madres en contextos de riesgo psicosocial y b) la relación existente entre la satisfacción con el apoyo social y la percepción del rol parental (agencia personal). Se obtuvieron datos con respecto al uso y la satisfacción con las fuentes de apoyo social, así como los niveles de control interno, autoeficacia, acuerdo en la pareja, dificultad del rol y motivación para el cambio, de 519 madres referidas por los Servicios Sociales y 519 madres no referidas. Los resultados indicaron que las madres en situación de riesgo psicosocial dependen menos de los apoyos informales y más de los formales que las madres en situación de no riesgo. Asimismo las madres en riesgo se encontraban más satisfechas con las fuentes de apoyo formal y presentaban niveles más bajos de agencia personal. Se obtuvieron efectos beneficiosos de la satisfacción con las fuentes informales de apoyo y el apoyo de la escuela en diversos aspectos de la agencia personal en ambos grupos. Sin embargo, la satisfacción con el apoyo proporcionado por la escuela y los servicios sociales tuvieron un efecto perjudicial en el acuerdo en la pareja en el grupo en situación de riesgo psicosocial. Se discuten las implicaciones de estos resultados con respecto a la provisión de apoyo social en las familias en situación de riesgo psicosocial.

Keywords

at-risk families
informal and formal use and source satisfaction
personal agency
social support

Palabras clave

agencia personal
apoyo social
familias en riesgo
uso y satisfacción con el apoyo informal y formal
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