Class, Race, and Gender Disparities in Behavior Problems at 24 Months of Age: Population-Based Estimates

Paul Morgan, Pennsylvania State University
George Farkas, Pennsylvania State University
Marianne M. Hillemeier, Pennsylvania State University
Steven Maczuga, Pennsylvania State University

We used a nationally representative sample of children to estimate the effects of socioeconomic status (SES), race/ethnicity, gender, additional socio-demographics, gestational and birth factors, and parenting on children’s risk for learning-related behavior problems (e.g., inattention, a lack of task persistence, non-cooperation, or frustration), at 24 months of age. Results indicated that boys are about twice as likely as girls to display learning-related behavior problems. Children from lower SES households are about twice as likely as those from high SES households to display behavior problems. Statistically controlling for these factors, we found consistently significant patterns of elevated behavior problems for some Asian and Native American children, but not for African-American or Latino children. Only small portions of these effects are explained by variation in the children’s gestational or birth characteristics. A significant portion, but less than half of the socio-demographic effects are attributable to measured features of parenting received by children.

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Presented in Session 91: Family Dynamics, Race/Ethnicity, and Early Child Wellbeing