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Intergenerational economic mobility for low-income parents and their children: A dual developmental science framework

In this review we bring a psychological perspective to the issue of intergenerational economic mobility. More specifically, we present a new dual developmental science framework to consider the educational outcomes of parents and children together in order to foster economic mobility. We focus on two key populations: children in early childhood (from birth to age 6) and parents in early adulthood (in their 20s and early 30s). We posit that mastery of three sets of developmental tasks for each generation—academic/language skills, self-regulation/mental health, and parent-child relationship—will lead to improved educational outcomes for both. Taken as a whole, the dual developmental science framework integrates theory and research on single-generation development (i.e., children or parents) with dynamic and bidirectional theories about the interdependence of children and parents over time. We conclude the review by evaluating existing education interventions and research using the dual developmental science framework, and we discuss opportunities for innovation. (author abstract)
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