Income and children's behavioral functioning: A sequential mediation analysis

Elizabeth C. Shelleby, Elizabeth Votruba-Drzal, Daniel S. Shaw, Thomas J. Dishion, Melvin N. Wilson, Frances Gardner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Children from low-income households tend to exhibit higher levels of conduct problems and emotional problems, yet the pathways linking economic disadvantage to children's behavioral functioning are not well understood. This study uses data from the Early Steps Multisite (ESM) project (N = 731) to investigate associations between family income in early childhood and children's conduct problems and emotional problems in middle childhood. The study explores whether the associations from income to child conduct problems and emotional problems operate through maternal depressive symptoms and 3 family risk factors in early childhood-harsh parenting, parenting hassles, and chaos in the home environment. Results of a sequential mediation model revealed significant indirect effects of family income on children's conduct problems operating through maternal depressive symptoms and parenting hassles and indirect effects of family income on children's emotional problems operating through maternal depressive symptoms, chaos in the home environment, and parenting hassles. Implications of these findings for understanding processes through which income influences child functioning are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)936-946
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Volume28
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014

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Keywords

  • Child behavior
  • Family income
  • Family stress
  • Maternal depressive symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

Shelleby, E. C., Votruba-Drzal, E., Shaw, D. S., Dishion, T. J., Wilson, M. N., & Gardner, F. (2014). Income and children's behavioral functioning: A sequential mediation analysis. Journal of Family Psychology, 28(6), 936-946. https://doi.org/10.1037/fam0000035