Academic failure and the role of early life course economic deprivation

Publication Year


Journal Article
Economic deprivation experienced in early childhood can have lasting effects for children. Studies that focus only on families living in poverty do not capture the breadth of experiences associated with economic deprivation. This study breaks down economic deprivation into two constructs, poverty and material hardship, and examines their relationship with academic failure later in childhood. Using the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (N = 3591), this study examines how early childhood economic deprivation, measured by material hardship and income poverty, works through different cognitive and behavioral pathways, linking deprivation to grade repetition in elementary school. The findings of this study suggest that early childhood poverty works through cognitive pathways while material hardship works through behavioral pathways. Modeling these pathways by gender indicate that the link between hardship and externalizing behavior may be driven by gender differences, as this pathway is significant for males but not females.
Children and Youth Services Review