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Assessing the Measurement and Structure of Material Hardship in the United States



Previous attempts to measure material well-being or hardship have not made clear the relationship of individual items to the broader concept of hardship. The current study used the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), a large-scale U.S. survey with a large number of questions on the material circumstances of households to create a measurement model of hardship that takes this relationship into account. A higher-order model with five-first-order factors: consumer durables, resources available to meet needs, housing conditions, neighborhood problems and crime, and community services, and a single second-order factor hardship fit the data well, with the “Housing” and “Neighborhood” first-order factors most strongly related to the higher-order hardship construct. Despite our attempts to tie the hardship measures to objective conditions, subjective evaluations were strongly related to most of the factors.



Social Indicators ResearchSpringer Journals

Published: May 1, 2009

DOI: 10.1007/s11205-008-9287-7

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