The Great Recession: Parenting, Child Behavior, and School Performance

William J. Schneider, Columbia University
Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Columbia University
Jane Waldfogel, Columbia University

We examine the association between the Great Recession and five aspects of 9-year-olds’ well being: (1) externalizing and (2) internalizing behavior problems; (3) early delinquency; (4) vocabulary; and (5) school achievement/engagement. It draws on the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, a longitudinal cohort study with families interviewed at the birth of a child and re-interviewed when children were 1, 3, 5, and 9 years old. We append consumer confidence and unemployment rate data to the mother’s file by matching to the date of the mothers interview at the age 9 survey, which occurred before and during the Great Recession. We find the Great Recession was associated with increased problem behaviors among boys and children living with a single mother, and that these findings are mediated by maternal parenting. Planned analyses include measures of child vocabulary and school achievement/engagement, additional measures of parenting, and changes in consumer confidence and unemployment.

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Presented in Session 191: Education and Child Well-Being