Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Rex Forehand

Project Collaborators

Renee Benoit, Nicole Breslend, Allison Vreeland, Bruce Compas

Status

Graduate

Student College

College of Arts and Sciences

Program/Major

Psychological Science

Primary Research Category

Social Sciences

Presentation Title

Does Parenting Mediate the Relationship Between Cumulative SES Risk and Child Outcomes? A Structural Equation Modeling Approach

Time

11:00 AM

Location

Silver Maple Ballroom - Social Sciences

Abstract

Introduction: Poverty is a strong predictor of childhood problems (Wadsworth et al., 2016), and familial factors, such as parent depression and disrupted parenting (which frequently co-occur in the context of poverty [Lovejoy et al., 2000; Lorant et al., 2003]), may explain the poverty-childhood problems relationship (Goodman et al., 2011). As parenting can mitigate child psychopathology (Weisz et al., 2017), research specifying whether parenting is a link between poverty and child outcomes is necessary. SES is composed of many factors, making it difficult to measure (Jones et al., 2016); accordingly, a cumulative risk (CR) index, which dichotomizes and sums a group of risk factors (e.g., single parent status, reliance on public assistance), is a promising way of operationalizing poverty. The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that parenting mediates the relationship between SES and child outcomes in an at-risk sample of families.

Method: Participants included 180 families with children (9-15 years old) in which a parent had a history of depression. Our five-point SES CR scale consisted of: annual income; use of public assistance; low education; single parent status; and teen parent status. We assessed positive parenting with observations and child problems with pen-and-paper reports.

Results: We conducted a structural equation model testing the indirect pathway from CR through parenting in relation to child problems (see Fig. 1). There was a significant direct relation of CR with child internalizing; however, positive parenting did not mediate this relationship. Conversely, the direct relation of cumulative SES risk with child externalizing was nonsignificant, whereas the indirect effect of positive parenting on this relationship was significant.

Conclusion: Findings partially supported study hypotheses, suggesting that less frequent use of positive parenting strategies may be a mechanism linking low income and child aggressive and rule-breaking behaviors. Limitations, implications, and future directions will be presented.

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Does Parenting Mediate the Relationship Between Cumulative SES Risk and Child Outcomes? A Structural Equation Modeling Approach

Introduction: Poverty is a strong predictor of childhood problems (Wadsworth et al., 2016), and familial factors, such as parent depression and disrupted parenting (which frequently co-occur in the context of poverty [Lovejoy et al., 2000; Lorant et al., 2003]), may explain the poverty-childhood problems relationship (Goodman et al., 2011). As parenting can mitigate child psychopathology (Weisz et al., 2017), research specifying whether parenting is a link between poverty and child outcomes is necessary. SES is composed of many factors, making it difficult to measure (Jones et al., 2016); accordingly, a cumulative risk (CR) index, which dichotomizes and sums a group of risk factors (e.g., single parent status, reliance on public assistance), is a promising way of operationalizing poverty. The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that parenting mediates the relationship between SES and child outcomes in an at-risk sample of families.

Method: Participants included 180 families with children (9-15 years old) in which a parent had a history of depression. Our five-point SES CR scale consisted of: annual income; use of public assistance; low education; single parent status; and teen parent status. We assessed positive parenting with observations and child problems with pen-and-paper reports.

Results: We conducted a structural equation model testing the indirect pathway from CR through parenting in relation to child problems (see Fig. 1). There was a significant direct relation of CR with child internalizing; however, positive parenting did not mediate this relationship. Conversely, the direct relation of cumulative SES risk with child externalizing was nonsignificant, whereas the indirect effect of positive parenting on this relationship was significant.

Conclusion: Findings partially supported study hypotheses, suggesting that less frequent use of positive parenting strategies may be a mechanism linking low income and child aggressive and rule-breaking behaviors. Limitations, implications, and future directions will be presented.