Income effects on the intellectual development of children from low-income families in Hong Kong: The mediating role of parental investment and parental stress

Chi Kin CHEUNG, Kwok Shing Richard WONG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticles

Abstract

This study examineed how parental investment and parental psychological well-being mediate the effects of family income on the intellectual development of children from low-income families in Hong Kong. The study followed a sample of 139 children from their final year of kindergarten (K3) through to their second year of primary education (P2) between 2015 and 2017. Path analysis was conducted to examine how family income was associated with children’s cognitive and English language ability (Raven’s Standard Progressive Matrices and Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-IV) through the parental investment and parental stress pathways. The results supported the hypothesis that parental investment and parental stress mediate the income effects on children’s learning outcome in the Asian context. The negative effects of low family income on children’s cognitive and English language abilities were mediated by the level of parental stress and the extent to which parents were authoritative in their parenting. Parental stress was also found to increase the likelihood of their children having behavioral problems, and that in turn undermined the cognitive development of the children. The level of money that parents invest in their children also mediated the negative effects of low family income on the children’s English language ability. The results suggested that interventions that target the variables that mediate the effects of income on child development are an effective alternative to a direct cash transfer for children in low-income families in Hong Kong. Copyright © 2020 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.
Original languageEnglish
JournalChild and Adolescent Social Work Journal
Early online date09 Jun 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 09 Jun 2020

Citation

Cheung, K. C.‑K., & Wong, R. K.‑S. (2020). Income effects on the intellectual development of children from low-income families in Hong Kong: The mediating role of parental investment and parental stress. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s10560-020-00681-5

Keywords

  • Poverty
  • Family investment
  • Parental stress
  • Parenting style
  • Cognitive ability
  • Child development

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