Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

Poverty, Maternal Depression, Family Status and Children's Cognitive and Behavioural Development in Early Childhood: A Longitudinal Study

  • KATHLEEN E. KIERNAN (a1) and FIONA K. MENSAH (a1)
Abstract

Improving children's lives is high on the UK policy agenda. In this study for a recent birth cohort of UK children we examine how three aspects of parental resources – income, mother's mental well-being and family status – in early childhood enhance or compromise their children's cognitive and behavioural development. As well as examining how these three aspects of parental resources separately and jointly affect children's well-being, we also enquire whether persistent poverty or persistent maternal depression are more deleterious for children's current well-being than periodic episodes of poverty and depression. We find strong associations between poverty and young children's intellectual and behavioural development, and persistent poverty was found to be particularly important in relation to children's cognitive development. Maternal depression (net of other factors) was more weakly related to cognitive development but strongly related to whether children were exhibiting behaviour problems, and persistent depression amplified the situation. Family status, net of other factors (most noticeably poverty), was only weakly associated with children's development.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Amato, P. and Maynard, R. (2007), ‘Decreasing nonmarital births and strengthening marriage to reduce poverty’, The Future of Children, 17: 2, 117–41.
Bracken, B. A. (2002), Bracken School Readiness Assessment: Administration Manual, San-Antonio: Psychological Corporation.
Bradshaw, J. and Mayhew, E. (eds.) (2005), The Well-being of Children in the UK, London: Save the Children.
Brooks-Gunn, J. and Duncan, G. J. (1997), ‘The effects of poverty on children’, The Future of Children, 7: 2, 5571.
Brown, G. W. and Moran, P. M. (1997), ‘Single mothers, poverty and depression’, Psychological Medicine, 27: 1, 2133.
Cassen, R. and Kingdom, G. (2007), Tackling Low Educational Achievement, York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation Report.
Centre for Social Justice (2006), ‘Breakdown Britain’, www.centreforsocialjustice.org.uk.
Conrad, M. and Hammen, C. (1989), ‘Role of maternal depression in perceptions of child maladjustment’, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 57: 5, 663–7.
Cox, J. L., Holden, J. M. and Sagovsky, R. (1987), ‘Detection of postnatal depression – development of the 10-item Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale’, British Journal of Psychiatry, 150: 782–6.
Currie, J. and Stabile, M. (2007), ‘Mental health in childhood and human capital’, National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper Series, www.nber.org.
Dex, S. and Joshi, H. E. (2005), Children of the 21st Century: From Birth to 9 Months, Bristol: Policy Press.
Duncan, G. J. and Brooks-Gunn, J. (eds) (1997), Consequences of Growing Up Poor, New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
Dunn, J., Deater-Deckard, K., Pickering, K., O'Connor, T. G. and Golding, J. (1998), ‘Children's adjustment and prosocial behaviour in step-, single-parent, and non-stepfamily settings: findings from a community study’, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 39: 8, 1083–95.
Feinstein, L. (2003), ‘Inequality in the early cognitive development of children in the 1970 cohort’, Economica, 70: 277, 7397.
Giddens, A. (2007), ‘Is Britain broken? Marriage and cohabitation are far more complex issues than Iain Duncan Smith's report suggests’, Prospect Magazine, Issue 138.
Glascoe, F. P. (2005), ‘Screening for developmental and behavioral problems’, Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews, 11: 3, 173–9.
Goodman, R. (1997), ‘The strengths and difficulties questionnaire: a research note’, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 38: 5, 581–6.
Goodman, R. (2001), ‘Psychometric properties of the strengths and difficulties questionnaire’, Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 40: 11, 1337–45.
Harker, L. (2006), ‘Delivering on child poverty: what would it take? A report for the Department for Work and Pensions’, www.dwp.gov.uk/publications/dwp/2006/harker/
Heckman, J. J. (2006), ‘Skill formation and the economics of investing in disadvantaged children’, Science, 312: 5782, 1900–2.
HM Government (2004), Every Child Matters: Change for Children, www.everychildmatters.gov.uk.
HM Treasury (2007), ‘Public Service Delivery Agreement 12: improve the health and wellbeing of children and young people’, www.hm-treasury.gov.uk.
Hobcraft, J. N. (2004), ‘Parental, childhood, and early adult legacies in the emergence of adult social exclusion: evidence on what matters from a British cohort’, in Chase-Lansdale, P. L., Kiernan, K. and Friedman, R. J. (eds.), Human Development Across Lives and Generations: The Potential for Change, New York: Cambridge University Press.
Joshi, H., Cooksey, E. C., Wiggins, R. D., McCulloch, A., Verropoulou, G. and Clarke, L. (1999), ‘Diverse family living situations and child development: a multi-level analysis comparing longitudinal evidence from Britain and the United States’, International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family, 13: 3, 292314.
Kiernan, K. E. and Huerta, M. C. (2008), ‘Economic deprivation, maternal depression, parenting and children's cognitive and emotional development in early childhood’, British Journal of Sociology, 59: 4, 783806.
Kim-Cohen, J., Moffitt, T. E., Taylor, A., Pawlby, S. J. and Caspi, A. (2005), ‘Maternal depression and children's antisocial behavior: nature and nurture effects’, Archives of General Psychiatry, 62: 2, 173–81.
McMunn, A. M., Nazroo, J. Y., Marmot, M. G., Boreham, R. and Goodman, R. (2001), ‘Children's emotional and behavioural well-being and the family environment: findings from the Health Survey for England’, Social Science and Medicine, 53: 4, 423–40.
Millar, J. and Ridge, T. (2001), Families, Poverty, Work and Care: A Review of Literature on Lone-Parents and Low-Income Families, Leeds: Department for Work and Pensions Research Report 153.
Petterson, S. M. and Albers, A. B. (2001), ‘Effects of poverty and maternal depression on early child development’, Child Development, 72: 6, 1794–813.
Plewis, I. (2007), ‘Non-response in a birth cohort study: the case of the millennium cohort study’, International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 10: 5, 325–34.
Plewis, I., Calderwood, L., Hawkes, D., Hughes, G. and Joshi, H. (2004), Millennium Cohort Study First Survey: Technical Report on Sampling, London: Centre for Longitudinal Studies.
Reading, R. and Reynolds, S. (2001), ‘Debt, social disadvantage and maternal depression’, Social Science and Medicine, 53: 4, 441–53.
Richters, J. E. (1992), ‘Depressed mothers as informants about their children – a critical-review of the evidence for distortion’, Psychological Bulletin, 112: 3, 485–99.
Shonkoff, J. and Phillips, D. A. E. (2000), From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Child Development, Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
Smith, M (2004), ‘Parental mental health: disruptions to parenting and outcomes for children’, Child and Family Social Work, 9: 1, 311.
Stata Corporation (2006), Stata Statistical Software: Version 9, Texas.
Vogler, C., Lyonette, C. and Wiggins, R. D. (2008), ‘Money, power and spending decisions in intimate relationships’, Sociological Review, 56: 1, 117–43.
Weissman, M. M., Pilowsky, D. J., Wickramaratne, P. J., Talati, A., Wisniewski, S. R., Fava, M., Hughes, C. W., Garber, J., Malloy, E., King, C. A., Cerda, G., Sood, A. B., Alpert, J. E., Trivedi, M. H. and Rush, A. J. (2006), ‘Remissions in maternal depression and child psychopathology – A STAR* D-Child report’, Journal of the American Medical Association, 295: 12, 1389–98.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Social Policy
  • ISSN: 0047-2794
  • EISSN: 1469-7823
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-social-policy
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed