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12-01-2022 | Original Paper

Low-Income Parental Risk and Engagement in Early Childhood and Child Social-Emotional Functioning in Middle Childhood

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Child and Family Studies
Auteurs:
Jay Fagan, Rachel Wildfeuer
Belangrijke opmerkingen
There has not been any prior dissemination of the findings of this study. The authors of this paper have complied with APA ethical standards in the treatment of the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing sample.
Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Abstract

The present study examined the association between fathers’ and mothers’ additive risk during early childhood and children’s social-emotional functioning in middle childhood. We also examined whether father and mother engagement with the child moderated the association between parental additive risk and child outcomes. We tested two moderation hypotheses (buffering and exposure hypotheses) to analyze the effect of fathers’ engagement with children in early childhood on the relationship between fathers’ additive risk and child outcomes and the effect of mothers’ engagement in early childhood on the relationship between mothers’ additive risk and child outcomes. Cross-over analyses were examined for the buffering hypothesis; in other words, whether parental engagement with children impacted the extent to which the other parent’s additive risk was associated with child outcomes. Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study (n = 1988), we found that higher levels of both fathers’ and mothers’ additive risk during early childhood were significantly associated with lower levels of children’s social-emotional functioning at age 9. Moderation analyses supported the exposure hypothesis meaning that the association between fathers’ additive risk and later child social-emotional functioning was greater when children had more exposure to fathers. The exposure hypothesis was not supported for mothers, the buffering hypothesis was not supported for fathers or mothers, and there were no cross-over buffering effects on the associations between parental additive risk and child outcomes. Implications for policy and future research are discussed.

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