This longitudinal, ethnographic research study was incepted to investigate service use among families living in poor urban communities. Themes that emerged during data collection focus on the variety of roles played by women, in the home, and in the neighborhood. We identified numerous strengths exhibited by women, that is, roles that help families adapt and survive. Over a two-year period, we spent time with families, in their homes, and in their communities. Not only did the women fulfill multiple roles in the family, but they performed care taking functions within the community as well. A more complete understanding of family and community strengths will help researchers and social service professionals better serve diverse families.


Longitudinal, Qualitative, Multiple Roles of Minority Women, and Strengths of Women in Family and Community


The research reported in this article was supported by grants from The Ford Foundation and the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences. The authors wish to express their appreciation to Rebecca Ramos, who spent many hours working on this project, the numerous community members, who allowed us into their neighborhoods, and finally, the generous family members, who agreed to spend their time with us - without whom this would not have been possible.

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