Date of Award

8-2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Applied Sociology

Advisor

Granberg, Ellen

Committee Member

Denton , Melinda

Committee Member

Luo , Ye

Abstract

This study used the Family Stress Model to investigate the relationship between economic distress and child cognitive development. A number of family and community processes have been theorized to mediate the relationship between income and child cognitive functioning. Warm parenting, parental stress, and punitive parenting practices were examined as possible mediators in a sample of 12,440 kindergarten children from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study - Kindergarten (ECLS-K). Cognitive development was evaluated by reading and mathematical standardized tests, and economic distress was measured using the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Insecurity Scale. The results of this study found support for the link between economic distress and all three described parenting practices. However, this study was not able to validate the idea behind the Family Stress Model which proposes that the link between financial distress and child cognitive development is mediated by parenting practices. In addition, further results did not support the notion that financial problems have a longitudinal influence on child cognitive development.

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