Location of Repository

Socioeconomic risk, parenting during the preschool years and child health age 6 years

By Jay Belsky, Brian Bell, Robert H. Bradley, Nigel Stallard and Sarah L. Stewart-Brown


Parent–child relationships and parenting processes are emerging as potential life course\ud determinants of health. Parenting is socially patterned and could be one of the factors responsible for\ud the negative effects of social inequalities on health, both in childhood and adulthood. This study tests\ud the hypothesis that some of the effect of socioeconomic risk on health in mid childhood is transmitted\ud via early parenting. Methods: Prospective cohort study in 10 USA communities involving 1041 mother/\ud child pairs, selected at birth at random with conditional sampling. Exposures: income, maternal\ud education, maternal age, lone parenthood, ethnic status and objective assessments of mother child\ud interaction in the first 4 years of life covering warmth, negativity and positive control. Outcomes:\ud mother’s report of child’s health in general at 6 years. Modelling: multiple regression analyses with\ud statistical testing of mediational processes. Results: All five indicators of socioeconomic status (SES) were\ud correlated with all three measures of parenting, such that low SES was associated with poor parenting.\ud Among the measures of parenting maternal warmth was independently predictive of future health, and\ud among the socioeconomic variables maternal education, partner presence and ‘other ethnic group’\ud proved predictive. Measures of parenting significantly mediated the impact of measures of SES on child\ud health. Conclusions: Parenting mediates some, but not all of the detectable effects of socioeconomic\ud risk on health in childhood. As part of a package of measures that address other determinants,\ud interventions to support parenting are likely to make a useful contribution to reducing childhood\ud inequalities in health

Topics: HQ, RJ
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Year: 2006
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:232

Suggested articles



  1. (1989). A developmental perspective on antisocial behaviour. doi
  2. A family process model of economic hardship and adjustment of early adolescent boys. doi
  3. (2004). A life course approach to chronic disease epidemiology. doi
  4. (1998). A longitudinal analysis of risk factors for child maltreatment: findings of a 17 year prospective study of officially recorded and self-reported child abuse and neglect. Child Abuse Neglect doi
  5. (2006). Asymptotic and re-sampling strategies for assessing and comparing indirect effects in simple and multiple mediator models. doi
  6. Behavior problems and group-based parent education programmes. doi
  7. (2005). Child Care Research Network. Child Care and Child Development: results of the NICHD Study of early child care and youth development. doi
  8. (1999). Child Care Research Network. Child care and mother–child interaction in the first three years of life. Dev Psychol doi
  9. Child Care Research Network. Early child care and children’s development prior to school entry. doi
  10. Childhood adversities and health variations among middle-aged men: a retrospective life course study. doi
  11. Economic status and health in childhood: the origin of the gradient. doi
  12. (1984). Home observations for measurement of the environment. Little Rock:
  13. Infant-mother interaction as a predictor of child’s chronic health problems. Child Care Health Dev doi
  14. It takes two to replicate: a medicational model for the impact of parents’ stress on adolescent adjustment. doi
  15. (1995). Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experience of Young American Children. Bltimore,
  16. (1995). Parent Training: a review of Adlerian, parent effectiveness training and behavioural research. doi
  17. Parent–Child relationships and health problems in adulthood in three UK national birth cohort studies. doi
  18. Parental management: mediator of the effect of socioeconomic status on early delinquency. Criminology doi
  19. (1996). Parental meta-emotion philosophy and the emotional life of families: theoretical models and preliminary data. JF a m Psychol doi
  20. Parental support and adolescent physical health status: a latent growth curve analysis. doi
  21. (2000). Programs for the promotion of family wellness and the prevention of child maltreatment: a meta-analytic review. Child Abuse Neglect doi
  22. Quality of early care and buffering of neuroendocrine stress reactions: potential effects on the developing brain. Prev Med doi
  23. (2006). Review of research on home visiting for pregnant women and parents of young children. doi
  24. Risky Families: Early Social Environments and the mental and physical health of offspring. doi
  25. (1983). Socialization in the context of the family: parent– child interaction.
  26. SPSS and SAS procedures for estimating indirect effects in simple mediation models. doi
  27. (1990). Straight and devious pathways from childhood to adulthood. Cambridge:
  28. (1993). The impact of childhood living conditions on illness and mortality in adulthood. Soc Sci Med doi
  29. The moderator-mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: conceptual, strategic and statistical considerations. doi
  30. (1996). The neuroimmunology of the stress from invertebrates to man. Prog Neurobiol doi
  31. The role of maternal psychological adjustment in the measurement of children’s functional status. doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.