Families suffer emotional stress during economic hard times such as a recession.

Patricia Voydanoff, director of the Center for the Study of Family Development at the University of Dayton, says a recession can cause depression and anxiety in individuals, and its effects on families are wide-ranging."Families need a certain level of income and job security to survive," she says. "Without them, many families separate or even divorce."

Writing in a recent issue of the Journal of Marriage and the Family, she says economic distress also may create behavior problems among children.

"When stress occurs and parents argue," Voydanoff says, "they become less nurturing and more inconsistent with their children. Children in economically distressed families are more likely to become ill, develop behavior problems and lower their job expectations."