CitationHunter, Colton L. & Shields, Grant S. (2022). Mediators of the associations between family income during adolescence and adult long-term memory and working memory. Cognitive Development. vol. 61
AbstractLow family income during childhood is associated with multiple enduring negative outcomes, including poorer cognitive functioning in adulthood. However, mechanisms linking low family income during adolescence to adulthood cognitive outcomes are relatively unclear, as mediators of income-cognition links have mostly been examined separately. To address this, we conducted a longitudinal multiple mediation analysis of associations between adolescent family income and adulthood working memory and long-term memory using a large, national dataset (N = 6337). The data were sociodemographically representative of the United States (48.1% male, Madult age=29.01). Potential mediators were education attainment, family education attitudes, stressful life experiences, inflammation, and perceived parental warmth. We found that education attainment mediated the associations between adolescent income and adulthood working memory and long-term memory. Additionally, stressful life events mediated the association between adolescent income and adulthood long-term memory, whereas inflammation and family education attitudes mediated the association between adolescent income and adulthood working memory. These findings suggest that limited education, less positive attitudes toward education, more stress, and heightened inflammation in low-income families predict poorer cognition in adulthood, and that intervening on each of these factors may mitigate detrimental cognitive sequelae of low family income during adolescence.
Reference TypeJournal Article
Journal TitleCognitive Development
Author(s)Hunter, Colton L.
Shields, Grant S.