chapter  7
28 Pages

Age and Ethnic Variations in Family Process Mediators of SES

For more than half a century there has been a keen interest in the relation between socioeconomic status (SES) and child development. Researchers throughout the social sciences and health professions have long considered SES to be one of the major influences on child well-being. For the past decade, there has been a concerted effort to identify the processes and factors that mediate the relation, with the hope not only of advancing science but of constructing policies and programs that benefit children. The number of candidate processes proposed for consideration is legion, some occurring prior to birth (e.g., inadequate nutrition and drug exposure during pregnancy), and still others occurring at later points in development (e.g., peer group affiliations, exposure to environmental teratogens, and the quality of school curricula), others occurring throughout postnatal development (e.g., the quality ofparental language, the availability of social support, parental responsiveness, and the availability of material resources; see Bradley & Corwyn, 2002, for a review). Researchers in sociology, psychology, economics, and nutrition, as well as other social and health sciences have offered many models (some quite simple, others quite elaborate) depicting links among SES, various mediation processes,

and different developmental outcomes (e.g., Baum, Garofalo. & Yali, 1999; Brody et aI., 1994; DeGarmo, Forgatch, & Martinez, 1999; Dodge, Petit, & Bates, 1994; Conger, Ge, Elder, Lorenz, & Simons, 1994; Levanthal & Brooks-Gunn, 2000; McLoyd,1998).