Associations Between Objective and Subjective Socioeconomic Status, Perception of Family Resources, and Child Psychopathology Symptoms in Preschool Years


The purpose of this study was to analyze the associations between the domains of objective and subjective socioeconomic status, perception of family resources, and psychopathology symptoms in preschool-aged children. The sample consisted of 44 low income multi-ethnic families from the Houston area. These families were recruited from preschools, community centers, and service organizations. Parents self-reported demographic information, subjective socioeconomic status through the ladder scale, and child psychopathology symptoms through the Behavioral Assessment System for Children, Second Edition. Family resources were determined through their own scale, and child behavior was measured through the Conners Early Childhood-Parent measure. Correlation analysis revealed that income-to-needs ratio, Hollingshead index, parental education level, overall subjective perception, and perception of overall family resources were not significantly associated with any of the child psychopathology symptom variables. Linear regression model revealed that family growth and support subscale scores were significantly associated with defiance/aggressive behaviors in preschool years. Results showed that higher levels of perception of resourcefulness in family growth and support, and family necessities and health, were associated with lower levels of child defiance/aggressiveness. Findings support the need for longitudinal designs with larger power, as well as the need to observe other behaviors such as cognitive adjustment.