Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

How Low-SES Parents Support Children's Academic Skill Development

Elliott, Leanne (2019) How Low-SES Parents Support Children's Academic Skill Development. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Download (1MB) | Preview


A long history of empirical research demonstrates that socioeconomically disadvantaged children begin school behind their peers and that enrichment activities in the home environment mediate these disparities. This work overlooks the considerable heterogeneity in the parenting practices of low-SES families. This dissertation examined home enrichment practices among low-SES families in greater detail to obtain a nuanced view of the experiences and challenges facing these children at risk of falling behind their peers academically. In Study 1, I used data from the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES 2009) to examine predictors of additional variability in parental enrichment, over and above income and education, among a large sample of low-income families using both variable-centered and person-centered analyses. I found that characteristics such as children’s vocabulary and behavioral skills, parent marital status and age, and family residential mobility, explained small but significant portions of additional variance in home enrichment, but the unique accumulation of these factors in latent profile analyses rarely contributed additional information. In Study 2, I explored these issues in greater detail through in-depth, qualitative interviews with a small sample of low-SES parents of young children. Parents described their enrichment activities in the home and any challenges or barriers that interfere with enrichment activities. All parents described substantial challenges in attempting to provide opportunities for learning with their young children but also noted a variety of methods to overcoming these challenges. Together, these results suggest that many low-SES parents’ behaviors are related to other factors in the family system (e.g., child interest or behaviors) and that survey-based measures of the frequency of enrichment activities may not appropriately capture how these parents engage in learning activities with their children.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Elliott, Leannelek79@pitt.edulek79
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairBachman, Heatherhbachman@pitt.eduhbachman
Committee MemberLibertus, Melissalibertus@pitt.edulibertus
Committee MemberVotruba-Drzal, Elizabethevotruba@pitt.eduevotruba
Committee MemberRussell, Jenniferjrussel@pitt.edujrussel
Date: 20 June 2019
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 2 April 2019
Approval Date: 20 June 2019
Submission Date: 7 April 2019
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 157
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: home learning environment; individual differences; mixed methods; socioeconomic status; strengths-based
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2019 15:09
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2019 15:09


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item