The depression era family culture demonstrated a close knit community which spent large amounts of time together (Craig 2006). Many families used to gather around the same radio and listen to entertainment or news and the fire side chats then President Roosevelt gave provided reassurance for a worried public (Craig 2006).
The lifestyle of a nuclear family with close contacts has developed to a fast paced world where family members frequently do not communicate regularly leading to alternative groups settings (Koesten, Miller, & Hummert 2001). Information on divergent lifestyles is now easily accessible to people which influences behavior (Koesten, Miller & Hummert 2001).
The radio was introduced as a communication and entertainment medium during the great depression (Craig 2006). The radio provided instant access to news and weather in addition to the entertainment value it provided (Craig 2006). Entire families would gather around the radio during the evening and spend quality time together (Craig 2006).
Businesses used the radio advertisements to lure the public in to considering buying purchases that were not considered prior to the advent of the radio (Craig 2006). Despite the economic hardships created by the great depression households who owned radios increased from 30% in 1930 to 70% in 1940 (Craig 2006).
In 1940 the foundation had but formed for the future technology revolution that is present today (Craig 2006). This is where the perception of the current American consumer started that buying a product would solve all of one’s problems (Craig 2006). Today’s United States population now has a variety of electronic devices such as cell phones and computers enabling true access on demand to information and entertainment (Koesten, Miller, & Hummert 2001). The multiple methods of communication available to the average American today can foster unhealthy influences on behavior which can result in unhealthy consequences (Koesten, Miller, & Hummert 2001).
People today spend more time communicating with others outside their immediate family with jobs, activities, and socialization than within the family unit (Koesten, Miller, & Humert 2001). The behavior of children from this generation will be influenced more by society than parentally which will impact the behavior displayed (Koesten, Miller, & Hummert 2001). The familial influence has been replaced by peer influence which has decreased the importance of family within today’s culture (Koesten, Miller & Hummer 2001). This decreased emphasis on familial communication has lead to increased peer pressure which results in a greater likelihood of risk taking behaviors (Koesten, Miller, & Hummert 2001).
This feeling of isolation has resulted in a dramatic increase in depression resulting from the loss of close family contact (Paxton, Valois, Watkins, Huebner, & Drane 2007). A depressed mood is different from clinical depression and is described as a feeling of sadness, lasting from a couple of hours to days (Paxton, Valois, Watkins, Huebner, & Drane 2007). Clinical depression is defined as sadness lasting at least two weeks that interferes with the activities of daily life (Paxton, Valois, Watkins, Huebner, & Drane 2007). People who are depressed are more likely to engage in behaviors that are hazardous to one’s health (Paxton, Valois, Watkins, Huebner, & Drane 2007).
Due to this family isolation and depression unnatural death has become the leading cause of adolescents and has increased dramatically recently (Anonymous 1987). Substance abuse has become more prevalent which has resulted in significant morbidity in the adolescent and young adult population (Anonmyous 1987). These problems did not exist in the epidemic proportions they do today because despite the multiple modalities available to communicate with family society communicates less than in the depression era.
Anonymous (1987). Health Risk Behaviors. Pediatrics. 80 (1) 144-147. Retrieved on
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Craig, S. (2006). The More they Listen, The More They Buy. Agricultural History. 80 (1)
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Koesten, J., Miller, K. I., Hummert, M. L. (2001). Family Communication, Self Efficacy,
and White Female Adolescent Risk Behavior. Journal of family Communication 2 (1) 7-27. Retrieved on December 20, 2008 from the ebscohost database.
Paxton, R. J., Valois, R. F., Watkins, K. W., Huebner, E. S., Drane, J. W. (2007) Association Between Depressed Moods and Clusters of Health Risk Behaviors.
American Journal of Health Behavior 31 (3) 272-283. Retrieved on December 20, 2008 from the ebscohost database.