The collapse of socialism in Eastern Europe during the late 1980s has resulted in the political, economic, and social transformation of many former communist bloc countries. Over the past decade, Romania, similar to other East European countries, has moved toward a democratic political system, a capitalistic economy, and personal liberty, including independent and freely functioning families. However, the rapid and often chaotic rebuilding of the economic and political systems has created instability and placed families and communities under severe economic pressure (Tesliuc, Pop, & Tesliuc, 2001). The closure of several state-run industries, the lack of capital investments in new manufacturing and technological industries, and the decline of the agricultural sector have created considerable worker unemployment, underemployment, and job insecurity (Robila, 2003; Zamfir, 2001).
The post-communist period has been economically difficult for many Romanian families. During the period 1991ÃÂ1993, the poverty rate was 22% (poverty level was defined as 60% of average household consumption expenditure per adult; World Bank, 1997), it rose significantly during the period 1995ÃÂ1999 (Tesliuc et al.,
2001), and by the year 2000, 44% of the Romanian population was living at or below the poverty level (Government of Romania, 2001). The poverty rate in Romania is among the highest of the former communist nations (World Bank, 2000). Within the context of rising prices, limited governmental subsidies, and unemployment, many Romanian families experience high levels of economic strain (Zamfir, 2001).
Family economic situations assessed through family incomes (e.g., salaries and dividends), unstable employment, loss of employment, and family assets and debts have been associated with emotional negativity and family disruptions (e.g., Conger & Elder, 1994; Conger et al., 1990, 2002). Researchers (e.g., Conger & Elder, 1994) have suggested that deprived family economic situations are associated with economic pressure/distress, which is in turn associated with intense emotional reactions and negative...