For kids

Kevin Lewis

August 04, 2019

Adult instruction limits children's flexibility in moral decision making
Susanne Hardecker, Joanna Buryn-Weitzel & Michael Tomasello
Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, forthcoming

Children's moral behavior is guided, in part, by adults teaching children how to treat others. However, when circumstances change, such instructions may become either unhelpful or limiting. In the current study, 48 dyads of 5-year-olds played a collaborative game and either (a) received an instruction by an adult to share the spoils of the game equally, (b) did not receive any instruction (but still chose to share equally), or (c) agreed between themselves on a rule to share equally. Afterward, each child played with a new partner who was needier or worked harder in his or her collaboration and so plausibly deserved more than just half of the spoils. Results showed that children who were instructed by an adult shared less with their more deserving partner than children who did not receive any instruction. Thus, moral instruction by adults may, in some circumstances, make children more rigid in their moral decisions.

Male Abortion Beneficiaries: Exploring the Long-Term Educational and Economic Associations of Abortion Among Men Who Report Teen Pregnancy
Bethany Everett et al.
Journal of Adolescent Health, forthcoming

Methods: We analyzed a subsample of men who reported a pregnancy before the age of 20 years that ended in either a live birth (n = 460) or abortion (n = 137) in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. We used propensity score and exact matching of baseline characteristics from Wave I of the study completed in 1994 to compare college completion and income reported in Wave IV of the study completed between 2007 and 2008.

Results: Among men who reported a live birth, 5.8% reported graduating from college, and 32.4% had any post-high school education compared with 22.1%, and 58.5% of men who reported a pregnancy ended in abortion. In the multivariable matching analysis, men whose adolescent pregnancies ended in abortion had an increased probability of graduating from college (average treatment effect = 8.6; p < .01) and completing any post-high school education in the treatment group (average treatment effect of the treated = 16.5; p < .001) than men whose adolescent pregnancies ended in live birth. We found a positive association between abortion and personal income only compared to men who did not reside with their child born during adolescence.

Family conflict observations and outcomes among adopted school-age children with lesbian, gay, and heterosexual parents
Rachel Farr, Samuel Bruun & Kyle Simon
Journal of Family Psychology, forthcoming

Children's externalizing problems are associated with family conflict among children and their biological parents, yet these linkages have remained unexamined among adoptive or lesbian and gay parent families. Investigating family processes facilitative of adjustment among adoptees, who face unique developmental challenges, is warranted. This multimethod study of 96 (26 lesbian, 29 gay, 41 heterosexual parent) adoptive families examined observations of adoptive family conflict and associations with child adjustment and feelings about adoption (children's Mage = 8 years). The sample was recruited from 5 private, domestic infant adoption agencies across the United States. Parents and children reported about children's externalizing problems and feelings about adoption, respectively. Observations of family conflict interaction were rated from videotaped family discussions. Family interactions were associated with children's behavioral and adoption-specific adjustment, yet analysis of variance and hierarchical linear modeling analyses revealed no differences by parental sexual orientation in family dynamics (i.e., negativity/conflict, positive affect, cohesiveness) or child outcomes. Parents generally reported children to have few externalizing behaviors. Children reported positive feelings, moderate preoccupation, and low negativity about their adoption. These findings extend the family systems literature about conflict and child development among diverse families with sexual minority parents and adopted children. Practitioners who work with adoptive and sexual minority parent families can encourage positive and cohesive family interactions in supporting children's adjustment.

Biological sensitivity to context: A test of the hypothesized U-shaped relation between early adversity and stress responsivity
Nila Shakiba et al.
Development and Psychopathology, forthcoming

We conducted signal detection analyses to test for curvilinear, U-shaped relations between early experiences of adversity and heightened physiological responses to challenge, as proposed by biological sensitivity to context theory. Based on analysis of an ethnically diverse sample of 338 kindergarten children (4-6 years old) and their families, we identified levels and types of adversity that, singly and interactively, predicted high (top 25%) and low (bottom 25%) rates of stress reactivity. The results offered support for the hypothesized U-shaped curve and conceptually replicated and extended the work of Ellis, Essex, and Boyce (2005). Across both sympathetic and adrenocortical systems, a disproportionate number of children growing up under conditions characterized by either low or high adversity (as indexed by restrictive parenting, family stress, and family economic condition) displayed heightened stress reactivity, compared with peers growing up under conditions of moderate adversity. Finally, as hypothesized by the adaptive calibration model, a disproportionate number of children who experienced exceptionally stressful family conditions displayed blunted cortisol reactivity to stress.

Will You Marry Me ... if Our Children Are Healthy? The Impact of Maternal Age and the Associated Risk of Having a Child with Health Problems on Family Structure
Federico Gutierrez
Vanderbilt University Working Paper, June 2019

Family structure is usually believed to affect children's human capital. Is it possible that causality goes in the opposite direction? This paper shows that the behavior of family structure variables over the life cycle dramatically changes when women have babies in their forties. These data regularities align with a significant increase in the risk of having a child with health problems when women enter the last decade of their reproductive life. I present a simple theoretical model that provides a common underlying explanation for the data patterns and generates additional testable implications. I estimate the model predictions using ACS data.

The Impact of Paid Family Leave on the Timing of Infant Vaccinations
Agnitra Choudhury & Solomon Polachek
State University of New York Working Paper, July 2019

Raising a new-born child involves not only financial resources, but also time investment from the parents. A time constraint can affect important decisions made by parents at the early stages of an infant's life. One form of investment that is particularly important is vaccinating an infant. We analyze the impact of time constraints on immunization of infants on time. To establish a causal relationship, we exploit California's implementation of Paid Parental Leave Program as a natural experiment. Using a nationally representative dataset from the National Immunization Survey, we find evidence that the policy reduced late vaccinations for children born to parents in California after the policy was implemented. We test for heterogeneous effects of the policy on different subgroups in the population. We find the policy had a stronger impact on families that are below the poverty line. We conduct a series of falsification tests and robustness checks to test the validity of the results. In addition, our results are robust to several placebo tests.


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