Cognitive aspects of young children's experience of economic disadvantage
Economic disadvantage is a well-studied risk factor for poorer behavioral and academic functioning in young children. Although the mechanisms by which disadvantage impacts children have long been of interest to researchers, studies to date have predominantly focused on mechanisms that are external to the child (e.g., parental depression, marital conflict). Very few studies have examined the internal, cognitive aspects of the experience of economic disadvantage, and almost none have considered how the effects of disadvantage on children's functioning might be mediated through cognitive processes. This article provides a framework for research into cognitive and social- cognitive mediators of economic disadvantage operating in early-to-middle childhood. The initial section of the article briefly reviews and summarizes the extant literature on childhood poverty and its effects. The second section reviews the evidence that preschool-aged children have the requisite cognitive abilities to recognize social inequality in their environments, to be aware of stereotypes related to social class, and to connect these social concepts to their own experience. The third section reviews and evaluates the small literature on children's appraisals, attributions, stereotypes, and perceptions of or about poverty and inequality. The fourth section defines and evaluates the literature on 2 social- cognitive processes-stereotype threat and status anxiety-that are hypothesized to mediate the effects of economic disadvantage on children's functioning. The article concludes with a series of proposed questions and hypotheses for future research, and elaborates on the potential implications of the proposed area of research.
Heberle, Amy E. and Carter, Alice S., "Cognitive aspects of young children's experience of economic disadvantage" (2015). Psychology. 526.