How Resource Dynamics Explain Accumulating Developmental Disparities for Teen Parents’ Children

Stefanie F. Mollborn, University of Colorado at Boulder
Elizabeth Lawrence, University of Colorado at Boulder

Using the nationally representative Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort (2001 - 2007; N = 8600), we articulated several dynamic patterns in socioeconomic resources to account for growing developmental and health disparities throughout early childhood. Multilevel growth curve models examined the puzzle of disparities experienced by teen parents’ children, whose outcomes increasingly lag those of peers while their parents are simultaneously experiencing socioeconomic improvements. Duration of socioeconomic resources is the strongest explanation for the puzzle, as persistently low income, maternal education, and assets fully or partially accounted for growth in cognitive, behavioral, and health disparities experienced by teen parents’ children from infancy through kindergarten. Results suggest that policy interventions that consider the timing of low socioeconomic resources in a household, both in duration and relative to age, might reduce or eliminate disparities experienced by teen parents’ young children.

  See paper

Presented in Session 105: Economic Resources, Social Context and Children’s Well-Being