Neighborhood Poverty, Social Capital, and the Cognitive Development of African American Preschoolers

Neighborhood Poverty, Social Capital, and the Cognitive Development of African American Preschoolers

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Children in families with lower incomes at or below the poverty line have been connected with poor cognitive and social development in early childhood. The studies that I chose to use evaluate the cognitive and social development during early childhood using various surveys, evaluations, and observations completed by or with the children, parents, and teachers. Development of any kind is dependent on the interplay of nature and nurture, or genetics and environment. These studies draw from a child’s environment during the earliest years of development, specifically birth, pre-school, and early elementary school. The studies propose living in an impoverished environment as opposed to an environment above the poverty line imposes certain restrictions on cognitive and social development during early childhood.
In the first study titled “Neighborhood Poverty, Social Capital, and the Cognitive Development of African American Preschoolers”. O’Brien and O’Campo examined the ecological context of neighborhoods and the effects held over cognitive development for children, specifically African American preschoolers. The focus of the research was to answer two questions related to how social capital of a family and neighborhood contribute to cognitive development of African American preschool-aged children (O’Brien, 2006). The main focuses were to determine if the differences in cognitive development was associated with neighborhood poverty over and above family characteristics, and if the differences could be explained by social capital or family capital. In order to do so, they evaluated various components of neighborhoods and families.
In neighborhoods, research was focused on the neighborhood structure, including impoverishment and popu...

... middle of paper ...

...d in the first study. Both studies show the impact poverty, no matter the duration, has on children during the early stages of development. Both studies prove, along with other factors of neighborhood and family life, a child may not be able to succeed solely based on the circumstances in which they are born.

Works Cited

Allhusen, V., Belsky, J., Booth-LaForce, C., Bradley, R., Brownell, C. A., Burchinal, M., & ... Weinraub, M. (2005). Duration and Developmental Timing of Poverty and Children's Cognitive and Social Development from Birth Through Third Grade. Child Development, 76(4), 795-810. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2005.00878.x

O'Brien Caughy, M., & O'Campo, P. J. (2006). Neighborhood Poverty, Social Capital, and the Cognitive Development of African American Preschoolers. American Journal Of Community Psychology, 37(1-2), 141-154. doi:10.1007/s10464-005-9001-8

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