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J Fam Psychol. 2008 Oct;22(5):725-33. doi: 10.1037/a0013190.

Consequences of socioeconomic disadvantage across three generations: parenting behavior and child externalizing problems.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of New Orleans, LA 70148, USA.


This study considers the intergenerational consequences of experiencing socioeconomic disadvantage within the family of origin. Specifically, the influence of socioeconomic disadvantage experienced during adolescence on the timing of parenthood and the association between early parenthood and risk for harsh parenting and emerging child problem behavior was evaluated. Participants included 154 3-generation families, followed prospectively over a 12-year period. Results indicated that exposure to poverty during adolescence, not parents' (first generation, or G1) education, predicted an earlier age of parenthood in G2. Younger G2 parents were observed to be harsher during interactions with their own 2-year-old child (G3), and harsh parenting predicted increases in G3 children's externalizing problems from age 2 to age 3. Finally, G3 children's externalizing behavior measured at age 3 predicted increases in harsh parenting from ages 3 to 4, suggesting that G3 children's behavior may exacerbate the longitudinal effects of socioeconomic disadvantage.

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