The Influence of Family Routines on the Resilience of Low-Income Preschoolers
Type of Degreethesis
Human Development and Family Studies
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Using data from the Birth to Three Phase (1996-2001) of the Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project, I investigated whether family routines play a role in the development of young children’s social competence and cognitive ability above and beyond general parenting. In addition, the moderating effects of child gender and race/ethnicity were examined. Numerous findings were noteworthy. First, analyses revealed that routines do matter for child outcomes; whereas concurrent routines may be critical for fostering social competence at 36 months, early family routines may be more important for children’s 36-month cognitive skills. Second, when general parenting was taken into account family routines no longer predicted 36-month outcomes, due primarily to the high collinearity between these variables. Third, the effects of routines differed by child gender, with early routines having a stronger effect on girls’ outcomes at 36 months and concurrent routines having a stronger effect on boys’ outcomes. Associations also varied by race/ethnicity such that family routines moderately predicted child outcomes at 36 months for European and African American children but not Hispanic children. Implications of these findings with respect to strength-based interventions for low-income preschoolers and their families are discussed.