Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation


The Role of Family Characteristics in Predicting Self-Regulation and Early Literacy in Kindergarten Public Deposited

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  • The family context is an important aspect of a child’s environment that can provide helpful resources for fostering positive development or can be a source of risk. One risk factor that is present in an overwhelming number of families is low income status (Child Trends Databank, 2019). Children growing up in families with low-income are at a greater risk for lower self-regulation skills and worse academic performance (Duncan, Brooks-Gunn, & Klebanov, 1994; McClelland & Wanless, 2012; Sektnan, McClelland, Acock, & Morrison, 2010; Wanless, McClelland, Tominey, & Acock, 2011). The present study examined how aspects of the family, specifically how child sleep duration, breastfeeding exposure, maternal education and employment status, parent marital status, and housing mobility, were related to the development of self-regulation and early literacy skills specifically for children living in low-income families at the fall of their kindergarten year. In order to examine these associations, a multiple regression framework was used as well as a quantile regression to examine if family characteristics related differently to self-regulation and early literacy at five different quantile positions (10th, 25th, 50th, 75th, 90th) in the distribution of these skills. Results revealed that children in the sample were demographically similar in their family characteristics; 96% of children received 8-12 hours of sleep each night, 84% were breastfed, 62% lived with married/partnered parents, 77% of mothers completed 10-14 years of education, 55% of mothers were employed part-time or full-time, and 61% of children experienced 1-3 moves in the previous 5 years. Regression analyses revealed that breastfeeding exposure significantly and positively predicted self-regulation (B = 15.76, SE = 8.06, p = .05) and early literacy skills (B = 23.94, SE = 8.24, p = .004). Quantile regression analyses revealed that breastfeeding exposure predicted early literacy skills for children scoring within the 75th percentile (B = 15, SE = 5.59, p = .008) of early literacy skills. Results contribute to existing literature on how the family context impacts important developmental domains in a child’s life and provides information on potential places of intervention for children who are living amongst pertinent risk factors.
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