Income Is Not Enough: Incorporating Material Hardship Into Models of Income Associations With Parenting and Child Development

Gershoff, E.T., Aber, J.L., Raver, C.C. & Lennon, M.C.
Child Development, January/February 2007, Volume 78 Issue 1 Page 70-95.

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.

Wagner Faculty