A major new study sheds light on how family income affects children, finding that it is how parents experience material hardship—not income alone--that affects children's cognitive skills and their social and emotional competence. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan, New York University, the University of Chicago, and Columbia University, is reported in the January/February 2007 issue of the journal Child Development. The research was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
Researchers looked at 21,255 American kindergartners, drawing from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Kindergarten Class of 1998-99. In the study, parents provided information about their families' economic situation, their own parenting, and their children's behaviors. Teachers provided additional information about children's behaviors in school, and children's cognitive skills were measured by standardized tests.
The study identified two ways family income affects children. First, parents who make more money are better able to buy more cognitively stimulating materials, such as books, and provide enriching experiences, such as visits to museums, that support their children's academic achievement. Second, the material hardship experienced by many low-income families, such as not having enough to eat, can lead parents to be depressed and fight with one another. This, in turn, can cause parents to show less affection toward their children, leaving the children depressed or more likely to misbehave.
By considering material hardship and family income together, the study's results challenge the well-established finding that family income is directly associated with parents' stress. The researchers found that only when increases in income were accompanied by decreases in families' experiences of hardship did income lessen parents' stress levels; added income alone was not enough. This distinction is important because the same level of family income can mean hardship in some parts of the country, such as large, urban cities, but not in other areas, such as small, rural towns.
"Our results suggest that a goal of enhancing the cognitive abilities of children from low-income families might be effectively served by interventions that provide such enriching materials or experiences when parents are financially unable to do so," according to Elizabeth T. Gershoff, the study's lead author and a professor of social work at the University of Michigan. "If the goal is reducing behavior problems, then reducing hardship through provision of in-kind goods and services, and in turn reducing parent stress, may have the greatest impact."
Andrea Browning | EurekAlert!
Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT
Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
05.12.2016 | Materials Sciences
05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering