Date of Award

5-2014

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Human Development

Advisor

Mary Ellin Logue

Second Committee Member

Shihfen Tu

Third Committee Member

Gary Schilmoeller

Abstract

Socio-economic status is associated with a child's executive functioning, the cognitive skills that allow higher-level processes. Previous research has not used consistent measures of socio-economic status to show these relationships. The present study broke down the components of socio-economic status into primary parent employment, education level, and income level. The hypothesis that these variables would be related to a child’s executive functioning was tested using the Dimensional Change Card Sort (DCCS) in a sample of 3- to 5-year-old children enrolled in Head Start programs. It was found that the primary parent’s employment was associated with a higher level of executive functioning.

A secondary hypothesis that the Highscope Preschool Child Observation Record (COR) a child assessment used by the enrolled in Head Start centers would be related to a child’s executive functioning was also tested. Using a regression analysis this assessment was not found to have such an association.

The results highlight the relationship between a parent's employment and a child’s level of executive functioning and the potential importance of dividing the variable of socio-economic status into its distinct variables.

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