In This Chapter

Socioeconomic Status and Parenting

Authored by: Erika Hoff , Brett Laursen

Handbook of Parenting

Print publication date:  February  2019
Online publication date:  March  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138228689
eBook ISBN: 9780429401459
Adobe ISBN:


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Socioeconomic status (SES) is a pervasive predictor of child development; parenting is a large part of the reason why. Across different populations and different developmental domains, there is evidence that parenting mediates the relation between SES and child outcomes (Bornstein and Bradley, 2003; Fernald, Kariger, Hidrobo, and Gertler, 2012; Kağıtçıbaşı, 2007; Paxson and Schady, 2007) and is part of the process by which social inequality is transmitted across generations (Conger and Donnellan, 2007; World Bank, 2015). The aim of this chapter is to elucidate one link in this causal chain from SES to child outcomes—the link between SES and parenting. The chapter begins with a historical introduction to research on SES and parenting, followed by a discussion of definitions of SES and approaches to its measurement. The third section summarizes the literature on differences in parenting cognitions and parenting practices associated with SES. The fourth and fifth sections ask how SES-related differences in parenting come about. The fourth section traces pathways of influence from SES to parenting; the fifth unpacks SES and identifies the separable effects of its constituents, income, education, and occupation. The penultimate section discusses remaining questions and future research directions in the study of SES and parenting, followed by a brief conclusions section.

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