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Links between maternal education and parenting quality during children's first three years: the moderating role of income and partner status

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jessica Ann Gudmundson (Creator)
Institution
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Advisor
Esther Leerkes

Abstract: Socio-demographic factors have been consistently linked to parenting practices during children's first years of life. However, less is known about the unique contribution and interactive effects of key factors such as maternal education, income, and partner status. The purpose of the current study was to examine group differences in maternal sensitivity and cognitive stimulation based on maternal education, income, and partner status in a sample of 1,364 mothers with young children. Drawing from family stress theory, main effects of education, income, and partner status were examined, and income and partner status were examined as moderators of differences in maternal behavior based on education. A secondary goal was to examine group differences in maternal behavior based on education and partner status among low-income mothers and group differences based on education and cumulative income. Results of a series of analyses of covariance revealed that income and partner status did moderate education-based differences on maternal behavior, but in varying ways. The primary results indicated that there were larger group differences based on education among low-income mothers than middle/upper income mothers but for partner status there were larger education-based group differences for partnered mothers than single mothers. For the secondary analyses, group differences based on education were larger for low-income partnered mothers than low-income single mothers. Additionally, there were main effects of cumulative income on maternal behavior, and a significant interaction between education and cumulative income on maternal sensitivity. Post-hoc tests revealed that there were no differences in maternal behavior based on education for mothers who were chronically low-income, whereas there were differences in maternal behavior based on education for mothers who did not experience low-income, or experienced low-income intermittently (i.e., 1, 2, or 3 times). Taken together, the results indicate that education is an important resource to mothers who experience some aspects of socio-demographic stress (i.e., low income), but not among mothers who experience multiple or chronic sources of economic stress.

Additional Information

Publication
Dissertation
Language: English
Date: 2012
Keywords
Cogntive stimulation, Income, Maternal education, Maternal sensitivity, Partner status
Subjects
Parenting $z United States $x Psychological aspects
Child rearing $x Research $z United States
Mother and child $x Research
Parenting $x Economic aspects $z United States