National statistics suggest that, on average, 16 percent of American children enter school without the readiness skills they need for success (Rimm-Kaufman, Pianta, and Cox, 2000). Children growing up in poverty are particularly vulnerable; over 40 percent of these children demonstrate delayed language skills and social skills at school entry, and over 20 percent exhibit high rates of disruptive behavior problems that undermine school adjustment (Macmillan, McMorris, and Kruttschnitt, 2004). Children who begin school unprepared for the learning and behavioral demands typically remain low achievers throughout elementary school, and are more likely than their more advantaged peers to experience learning disabilities, conflictual relationships with teachers and peers, grade retention, early school drop-out, and long-term underemployment (Ryan, Fauth, and Brooks-Gunn, 2006). Rates of child poverty are on the rise in the United States, with nearly one in four preschoolers living in poverty and nearly one in two preschoolers living in low-income families (200 percent of poverty; National Center for Children in Poverty, 2010), making the problem of understanding and promoting school readiness a national priority. Delays in school readiness are part of a larger set of health and mental health disparities associated with low socioeconomic status (SES), which confers elevated health risks in diverse areas, including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, arthritis, diabetes, and cancer, as well as overall higher mortality (Adler and Newman, 2002). The link between SES and child risk for mental illness is well established, evident particularly in elevated rates of depressive and anxiety disorders, conduct problems, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) among children growing up in poverty (Ritsher et al., 2001). Although multiply determined, the negative impact of low SES on child mental health appears driven in part by parental education, maternal depression, and single-parenthood, all of which are associated with SES and affect the quality of parenting and parent-child interaction and support (Ritsher et al., 2001).
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||Health and Education in Early Childhood|
|Subtitle of host publication||Predictors, Interventions, and Policies|
|Publisher||Cambridge University Press|
|Number of pages||26|
|State||Published - Jan 1 2015|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes