Background: Socioeconomically disadvantaged children lag behind in several areas of life, including the development of cognitive skills like executive functions, as compared to children living in higher social classes. It can be assumed that one of the underlying mechanisms behind this phenomenon is that these children are exposed to an increased amount of adverse stress throughout their lives. The aim of the present study was to examine the relationship between the components of socioeconomic status and executive functions in a Hungarian sample of preschool children, and the role of cortisol hormone levels (as an indicator of stress) in this regard.
Methods: We recruited a socioeconomically diverse sample of children from four different preschools. The analyses reported in the present study were performed based on data from 76 participants (45 male, 31 female, age range 52-83 months, mean age 70,85 months). Information regarding the socioeconomic status was collected from parents by questionnaires, children's executive functions were measured by computerized neuropsychological tests (Corsi Block, Go/No-Go, Hearts and Flowers), and their stress level was assessed by cortisol hormone levels from saliva samples (morning sampling, measured by ELISA method).
Results: Our results are in line with previous findings showing that it is only parental education that has a significant relationship with the executive functions of children, while family income does not. In addition, cortisol hormone levels were found to partially mediate the relationship between parental educational level and children's executive function capacities.
Conclusions: We can conclude that increased stress is one of the mechanisms through which socioeconomic status influences children's cognitive skills, but other factors may also be determinants.
|Translated title of the contribution||The role of stress in the relationship between socioeconomic status and executive functions in childhood|
|Number of pages||19|
|Journal||Magyar Pszichologiai Szemle|
|Publication status||Published - 31 Jan 2022|
- executive functions
- socioeconomical status