Children who live in poor neighborhoods may be at increased risk of verbal and behavioral problems. A new study suggests that for some of their parents, living in poor neighborhoods is associated with poorer mental health, poorer family relations, and less consistent and more punitive parenting. The study aimed to determine the relationships between neighborhood characteristics and parenting, and between parenting and children’s preschool performance.
Conducted by researchers at the University of Ottawa, Johns Hopkins University, the University of British Columbia, and Statistics Canada, the study appears in the January/February 2008 issue of Child Development. “This study does not show that poverty leads to bad parenting, which in turn leads to poor outcomes in children,” according to Dafna E. Kohen, adjunct professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine at the University of Ottawa, senior research analyst at Statistics Canada, and the study’s lead author. “Rather, this study shows that in neighborhoods where there is socioeconomic disadvantage, children’s verbal and behavioral outcomes are influenced by poor parental mental health and parenting behaviors.”
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