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Early parenting and the intergenerational transmission of self regulation and behavior problems in African American Head Start families

The present investigation used a national sample of African American Head Start children (N=640; Mage=4.40) to determine whether conditions of socioeconomic disadvantage, particularly poverty, low parent education, and single parent homes were associated with children's executive function (EF; attention and impulse control) and behavior problems (internalizing and externalizing symptoms) via the mediating effects of parent–child interactions. Path models with manifest and latent variables revealed that parent–child interactions (i.e., cognitive stimulation, control, and harsh discipline) mediated the association between socioeconomic disadvantage and children's internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Furthermore, parent cognitive stimulation mediated the association between socioeconomic disadvantage and children's EF skills. The overall pattern of results provides empirical support for the family stress model of development in which conditions of socioeconomic disadvantage exert a significant influence on parent–child interactions and in turn children's emergent self-regulation and behavior problems. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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