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Family Income and School Readiness Skills

Portnow, Samuel
Format
Thesis/Dissertation; Online
Author
Portnow, Samuel
Advisor
Wilson, Melvin
Abstract
Quasi-experimental research suggests that additional family income leads to increased child achievement in elementary and high school (Dahl & Lochner, 2012; Duncan, Morris, & Rodrigues, 2011; Milligan & Stable, 2011). An additional $1,000 in annual family income corresponds to five-seven percent of a standard deviation increase on standardized reading and math skills in elementary and high school (Dahl & Lochner, 2012; Duncan et al., 2011; Milligan & Stable, 2011). There is some suggestive evidence that increases in income may cause increases in school readiness skills prior to formal schooling, but no research has directly examined the effect of family income on school readiness skills (Duncan et al., 2011). This gap in research is unfortunate because school readiness skills serve as the basis for later child achievement. The first aim of the proposed dissertation is to examine the effect of family income on school readiness skills; across two separate datasets. Using causal inference techniques, the present dissertation examines whether an additional $1,000 in family income corresponds to an increase in school readiness skills. The proposed dissertation hypothesizes that across each dataset, an additional $1,000 in family income corresponds to an increase in school readiness skills. The second and third aims of the proposed dissertation examine how an additional $1,000 in family income increases school readiness skills. For the second aim, again using causal inference techniques across two datasets, the present dissertation examines whether parental cognitive stimulation mediates the relation between an additional $1,000 in family income and increased school readiness skills. For the third aim, the present dissertation uses causal inference techniques across to examine childcare as a mediator of the relation between an additional $1,000 in family income and increased school readiness skills. Given the relative lack of research that has examined childcare as a mediator between an additional $1,000 in income and increased school readiness skills, the third aim is exploratory, and there are no a priori hypotheses. Results indicated that income did indeed increase children’s school readiness skills. An additional $1,000 in income corresponded to a .05-.07 SD unit increase in math skills, and a to .09 - .13 SD unit increase in reading skills. Results suggested that neither cognitive stimulation nor childcare quality mediated the relation between income and school readiness skills.
Language
English
Published
University of Virginia, Department of Psychology, PHD (Doctor of Philosophy), 2017
Published Date
2017-04-28
Degree
PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Rights
All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
Collection
Libra ETD Repository

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