Income Is Not Enough: Incorporating Material Hardship Into Models of Income Associations With Parenting and Child Development
Although research has clearly established that low family income has negative impacts on children's cognitive skills and social-emotional competence, less often is a family's experience of material hardship considered. Using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999 (N=21,255), this study examined dual components of family income and material hardship along with parent mediators of stress, positive parenting, and investment as predictors of 6-year-old children's cognitive skills and social-emotional competence. Support was found for a model that identified unique parent-mediated paths from income to cognitive skills and from income and material hardship to social-emotional competence. The findings have implications for future study of family income and child development and for identification of promising targets for policy intervention.