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Indirect effects, via parental factors, of income harshness and unpredictability on kindergarteners’ socioemotional functioning

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 March 2022

Zhi Li*
Affiliation:
School of Psychological and Cognitive Sciences and Beijing Key Laboratory of Behavior and Mental Health, Peking University, Beijing, China
Jay Belsky
Affiliation:
Department of Human Ecology, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA, United States
*
Corresponding author: Zhi Li, email: zhi.li@pku.edu.cn

Abstract

Drawing on data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort (n = 10,700), we evaluate indirect effects − via parent negative psychology and harsh-inconsistent parenting − of income harshness, unpredictability, and their interaction on kindergarteners’ socioemotional development. Income harshness is operationalized as the typical level of family income-to-needs across four repeated measurements from 9 months to kindergarten and unpredictability as random variation across the same repeated measurements. Results indicate that the effects of greater income harshness and the harshness-X-unpredictability interaction (reflecting more predictable income harshness) on more “problematic” child behavior operated via both parent negative psychology (i.e., greater psychological stress) and harsh-inconsistent parenting. Results underscore the utility of simultaneously investigating effects of income harshness and unpredictability, as well as their interaction and mechanisms of influence.

Type
Special Issue Article
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press

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