File Name: socioeconomic status parenting and child development .zip
Child and family researchers have long recognized parenting as making an important contribution to child development. However, little is known about the factors that shape parenting itself, particularly factors outside the family. Implications for future research on parenting, clinical interventions designed to improve parenting, and policy decisions affecting parenting are discussed.
Background: Parent child relationships and parenting processes are emerging as potential life course determinants of health. Parenting is socially patterned and could be one of the factors responsible for the negative effects of social inequalities on health, both in childhood and adulthood. This study tests the hypothesis that some of the effect of socioeconomic risk on health in mid childhood is transmitted via early parenting.
The current investigation consisted of two sets of data relating to two separate years with a one-year interval. The participants included preschoolers aged five years at Time 1 the first year and first graders aged six years at Time 2 the second year ; 1, met the inclusion criteria for both years.
Parents of the participants completed a self-reported questionnaire regarding their SES i. For each SES indicator, we found an inverse relationship across all the symptom dimensions. Specifically, bivariate analyses revealed that lower family income, maternal education level, and paternal education level predict all three domains of behavioral problems i. Further, multivariate analyses revealed that lower family income consistently predicts all domains of behavioral problems, lower maternal education level predicted externalized problems and total behavioral problems, and paternal education level did not predict any clinically significant behavioral problems.
In this sample, we found that, for children, family income and parental education when entering preschool were significant predictors of mental health problems after elementary school enrollment; in particular, low income and low maternal educational achievement predicted a high probability of the development of a psychiatric disorder. A greater understanding of the mechanisms of these associations could contribute to improvements in interventions aimed at preventing child maladjustment.
Citation: Hosokawa R, Katsura T Effect of socioeconomic status on behavioral problems from preschool to early elementary school — A Japanese longitudinal study. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Data Availability: All relevant data are within the paper and its Supporting Information files. The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist. In order to provide a better understanding of this, numerous studies on social inequalities and mental health have focused on low socioeconomic status SES as the main causal variable. As socio-cultural backgrounds differ between countries, precisely clarifying the relationship between SES and childhood psychopathology in Japan could contribute to providing insight into the etiology of mental health problems and to improving interventions designed to reduce the burden of such mental health problems and prevent child maladjustment.
It is difficult to claim that Japan is a country that upholds social equality. Although Japan has no official poverty line, in practice, the relative poverty rate of the OECD index is frequently used to calculate the poverty rate. The threshold, calculated based on the OECD standard, which is half of the median income of the total population, was defined as approximately 1. From a global perspective, absolute poverty is decreasing, but in the developed world, divides between the poor and the wealthy are widening [ 14 — 16 ]; thus, relative child poverty is becoming a central issue that must be addressed not only in Japan but also in many developed countries.
Although absolute levels of affluence are critical variables for predicting child development, to better predict various social and behavioral health outcomes, an increasing emphasis is being placed on relative levels of affluence [ 18 ]. In countries with high relative social inequality, such as Japan, people with lower SES may have lower levels of happiness across many dimensions than people with higher SES.
Further, feelings of relative deprivation may contribute to worsening the conditions of people with lower SES, because they can be motivated to spend lavishly on goods and services that signify higher status in society. Such stressful experiences may outweigh the few existing parental resources, resulting in maladaptive coping mechanisms that foster conflict among family members and disrupted child-rearing skills, consequently predicting mental health problems in children.
Thus, relative inequality, which is measured by analyzing the resources needed to maintain a particular social and economic lifestyle, is an important but often-neglected policy target. On the other hand, many studies have measured SES by combining education status and other SES variables to create simple composite scores [ 21 ]. However, while several of these studies have found that lower parental education is related to lower levels of developmental outcomes in children, including psychological well-being and emotional and cognitive development [ 22 — 25 ], there is limited evidence that parental education, as an SES indicator, independently predicts child developmental outcomes.
Japan is a country with high educational standards: access to education is high across all levels, enrollment in pre-primary education is high, and first-time entry and graduation rates at the tertiary level are also high [ 26 , 27 ]. Concurrently, the unemployment rate among tertiary-educated adults decreased between and from 3. This shift means that the gap between adults with high and low levels of education has widened over the past 12 years. The effects of socioeconomic circumstances are likely to vary depending on the phase of life in which they are experienced.
In particular, prior studies investigating this topic have suggested that such effects are most pronounced during preschool years. The reason for this may be that poverty interferes with the processes that lead to school readiness. Moreover, childhood SES is not the only aspect that has an impact on developmental outcomes and mental health in childhood, as hardships during childhood are also likely to be critical for explaining differences in developmental outcomes and mental health later in life.
For instance, exposure to poverty during childhood appears to have a greater detrimental impact on childhood social and cognitive ability than experiencing poverty later in life [ 28 — 31 ]. In addition, childhood SES has been found to be a relevant predictor of adult mental health status [ 32 , 33 ].
Furthermore, cumulative adversities experienced in childhood have also been found to be associated with psychological distress in adulthood [ 34 — 36 ]; in other words, persistent economic deprivation appears to be more detrimental than transient poverty. Mental health problems experienced during childhood are known to be associated with both current and later impairment, and to result in maladjustment [ 37 , 38 ].
Considering the above findings cumulatively, it seems that adversity in childhood becomes embodied at an early age, and the full impact of this then manifests itself later in adult life.
Therefore, experiencing adversity and social inequalities early in life is likely to be more detrimental than experiencing them at any later point. Consequently, it is important to verify that this is the case: social inequalities in early childhood have a severe impact on development later in life. In the current research, using a longitudinal design, we examined the impact SES in early childhood has on social adaptation in the first grade of elementary school in Japan.
To achieve this, we included three different indicators of SES i. Consequently, our investigation was successful, and we determined that SES, particularly lower family income and lower maternal education, is a predictor of future behavioral problems. We anticipate that the results of this research will help inform policies and plans that support the development of children in countries with high relative poverty rates.
At Time 1 T1 , which was conducted in , we obtained a sample of preschool children, all of whom were five years old, from those enrolled in 52 kindergartens and 78 nursery schools in Nagoya City, which is a major urban area in Japan. Then, at Time 2 T2 , which was conducted in , the same children were recruited, now six years old and in the first grade.
In other words, a similar questionnaire was provided to parents one year 12 months after T1. The retention rate from T1 to T2 was Comparing the non-returning participants with the returning participants on demographic features, regarding household income, The household income of the non-returning participants was significantly lower than that of the returning participants, as measured by a chi-square test.
In addition, regarding education level, 5. Furthermore, 7. Thus, the non-returning participants tended to have relatively lower SES i. To accurately clarify the associations between SES and child developmental outcomes, we then chose to exclude children with developmental problems. Consequently, of the 1, children for whom data was received at both T1 and T2, 1, Researchers obtained written, informed consent from all participants.
For the children, written, informed consent was obtained from parents on their behalf. Ratings for subsets of items were then summed to provide scores for the eight syndrome scales i. Then, the scores of the syndrome scales were combined to determine scores for the higher-order domains of internalized, externalized, and total problems. The scale has been well standardized, and various studies have found it to have good reliability and validity [ 44 , 45 ].
In the next stage, SES was defined using information concerning family income and parental education. It should be noted here that the Japanese education system comprises elementary school six years , junior high school three years , and high school three years , and education is compulsory until the end of junior high school nine years.
Parents also provided background demographic information for their children, from which covariates were sourced. This information included sex, family composition nuclear or expanded family , family status two parents or single parent , number of siblings one or more siblings or no siblings , and preschool institution attended kindergarten or nursery school.
Poisson regression analyses were conducted to assess the association between SES and diagnostic probability scores; this was due to the high prevalence of the outcomes i. In the multivariate model, as the demographic factors were not significantly associated with behavioral problems in the bivariate analyses, we did not include the demographic factors in the multivariate analyses. On the other hand, as all socioeconomic status factors were significantly associated with behavioral problems in the bivariate analyses, we included all socioeconomic status factors in the analyses.
More specifically, although not all indicators were significantly related to behavioral problems in the bivariate analyses, all indicators of annual household income, maternal education level, and paternal education level were covaried in the multivariate analyses.
In addition, to investigate how variables related to each other, we conducted path analyses; the path analyses were conducted to estimate direct and indirect paths between family income, maternal and paternal education levels, and behavioral problems see S2 Fig , S3 Fig , and S4 Fig. The hypothesized model is presented in S1 Fig ; in the model, maternal and paternal education levels were specified as predictors of family income and child behavioral problems. Prior to conducting the path analyses, correlational analyses were performed to measure associations between demographic variables and outcome variables; variables significantly correlated with total behavioral problems were entered into the predictive model as control variables see S1 Table.
Table 1 shows the demographic characteristics of children, familial SES at T1, and the prevalence of clinically significant behavioral problems, which was determined using the CBCL, at T2. Additionally, Additionally, the mean ages of the mothers and fathers were Therefore, participants in the current study were roughly similar to the demographics of the Japanese population.
Regarding SES, the median household income was between 5,, and 5,, JPY per year, and the ratio of families with an annual income of less than 3,, JPY was Meanwhile, the percentage of compulsory education nine years was 2.
In terms of Japanese SES, among a similar generation, the median household income was approximately 4. Therefore, SES of participants in the current study was relatively higher compared with that typical of the Japanese. Finally, regarding the CBCL results for clinically significant behavioral problems, the clinical cut-off was exceeded for internalized, externalized, and total behavior problems in Associations of demographic characteristics and SES with clinically significant internalized behavioral problems are shown in Table 2.
In our bivariate model, when children from families with an annual household income over 7,, JPY were used as the reference category, we found that annual household income showed a significant association with clinically significant internalized behavioral problems 3—4,, rate ratio RR : 1.
In the multivariate model, as the demographic factors were not significantly associated with internalized behavioral problems in the bivariate analyses, we did not include demographic factors in the analyses. On the other hand, as all socioeconomic status factors were significantly associated with internalized behavioral problems in the bivariate analyses, we included all socioeconomic status factors in the multivariate analyses.
More specifically, although not all indicators were significantly related to internalized behavioral problems in the bivariate analyses, all indicators of annual household income, maternal education level, and paternal education level were covaried in the multivariate analyses. In other words, the rate ratio suggests that children from families with an annual household income of 3 to 4,, JPY and less than 3,, JPY were 1.
Similarly, although we found that paternal education level showed a significant association with clinically significant internalized behavioral problems in the bivariate model compulsory education nine years : RR: 1.
In addition, to estimate how these variables related to each other, we conducted path analyses to estimate the direct and indirect paths between family income, maternal and paternal education levels, and internalized behavioral problems see S2 Fig. The result of the analyses showed that maternal and paternal education levels were indirectly related to internalized behavioral problems through family income; on the other hand, maternal and paternal education levels were not directly related to internalized behavioral problems.
The associations of demographics and SES with clinically significant externalized behavior problems are shown in Table 3. In our bivariate model, when children from families with an annual household income over 7,, JPY were used as the reference category, we found that annual household income showed a significant association with clinically significant externalized behavioral problems 3—4,, RR: 1. In the multivariate model, as the demographic factors were not significantly associated with externalized behavioral problems in the bivariate analyses, we did not include demographic factors in the analyses.
On the other hand, as all socioeconomic status factors were significantly associated with externalized behavioral problems in the bivariate analyses, we included all socioeconomic status factors in the multivariate analyses; more specifically, although not all indicators were significantly related to externalized behavioral problems in the bivariate analyses, all indicators of annual household income, maternal education level, and paternal education level were covaried in the multivariate analyses.
That is, the rate ratio suggests that children from families with an annual household income of less than 3,, JPY were 1. In other words, the rate ratio suggests that children from families in which the maternal education level is compulsory education nine years were 2.
On the other hand, although we found in the bivariate model that paternal education level shows a significant association with clinically significant externalized behavioral problems compulsory education nine years : RR: 1. In addition, to investigate how these variables related to each other, we performed path analyses, which were conducted to estimate direct and indirect paths between family incomes, maternal and paternal education levels, and externalized behavioral problems see S3 Fig.
The result of the analyses showed that paternal and maternal education level indirectly related to externalized behavioral problems through family income; at the same time, maternal education level directly related to externalized behavioral problems, which was mutually adjusted.
Finally, associations of demographics and SES with clinically significant total behavioral problems are shown in Table 4.
Metrics details. Using a short-term longitudinal design, this study examined the concurrent and longitudinal relationships among familial socioeconomic status SES; i. The path analysis results revealed that Time 1 family income and maternal and paternal education levels were respectively related to Time 1 social skills and Time 2 internalizing and externalizing problems, both directly and indirectly, through their influence on destructive and constructive marital conflict, as well as negative and positive parenting practices. Notably, after controlling for Time 1 behavioral problems as mediating mechanisms in the link between family factors i. The merit of examining SES, marital conflict, and parenting practices as multidimensional constructs is discussed in relation to an understanding of processes and pathways within families that affect child mental health functioning. The results suggest social competence, which is influenced by the multidimensional constructs of family factors, may prove protective in reducing the risk of child maladjustment, especially for children who are socioeconomically disadvantaged. An extensive amount of research has consistently found associations between childhood socioeconomic status SES and mental health functioning [ 1 , 2 , 3 ], with marital conflict and parenting practices seeming to mediate these associations.
Participants included middle-school students in grade 8. In addition, we adopted an 8-item parent—child relationship scale and a item learning motivation scale that included four dimensions. We examined whether the parent—child relationship mediated the relationship between family SES and reading ability and whether this was moderated by learning motivation. The results indicated that the parent—child relationship played a mediating role in the relationship between SES and reading ability. The direct effects of SES on reading ability at high, medium, and low levels of learning motivation were 0. Reading, the process of acquiring meaning from text, is one of the most complex and unique cognitive activities of humans.
Poverty considerably heightens family stress and increases the risk of social and emotional problems in children. Because poverty can be even more damaging during the early years, it is important to understand these living conditions and associated factors in order to mitigate the effects. Many expectant and new mothers have low family incomes. Their children tend to display more behavioural problems and less prosocial behaviour than children born to mothers with higher family incomes. Behavioural problems in children are costly for both families and society. A key policy question in this area of research is whether steps to redistribute income from richer to poorer families are more cost-effective than intervention programs designed to prevent or treat psychosocial problems. In addition, studies that include statistical controls for confounding family conditions such as family structure offer better causal estimates than studies that do not.
The current investigation consisted of two sets of data relating to two separate years with a one-year interval. The participants included preschoolers aged five years at Time 1 the first year and first graders aged six years at Time 2 the second year ; 1, met the inclusion criteria for both years. Parents of the participants completed a self-reported questionnaire regarding their SES i. For each SES indicator, we found an inverse relationship across all the symptom dimensions.
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what parents experience at work, they incorporate into their style of parenting. There is evidence that the connection between SES and cognitive performance.Reply
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