Ready or Not: Predicting High and Low School Readiness among Teen Parents’ Children

Stefanie F. Mollborn, University of Colorado at Boulder
Jeffrey A. Dennis, University of Texas of the Permian Basin

Past research has documented compromised development for teenage mothers’ children compared to others, but less is known about predictors of school readiness. Our multidimensional measures incorporated math, reading, and behavior scores and health. Using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort, we predicted high and low school readiness shortly before kindergarten among children born to a teenage mother and/or father (N≈800). Factors from five structural and interpersonal domains based on the School Transition Model were measured at two time points, including change between those time points, to capture the dynamic nature of early childhood. Four domains (socioeconomic resources, maternal characteristics, parenting, and exposure to adults) predicted high or low school readiness, but often not both. Promising factors associated with both high and low readiness were maternal education, age, depressive symptoms, and parenting quality, and home environment, and living with fewer children and receiving child care.

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Presented in Session 166: Family Structure, Timing, and Child Well-being