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Drops in family income tied to child’s problem behaviours

07 Oct 2019
How much should be spent today and how much more should be kept aside for future planning and spending

Families who experience a drop in the equivalized disposable household income (EHDI) are also more likely to witness their children’s problem behaviour, a recent study has found.

Drawing from the Korean Welfare Panel Study, researchers obtained pertinent data of 688 school-aged children (mean age, 11.9±0.9 years; 360 boys) and their families’ EHDI level. Children’s behavioural problems were assessed using the Korean version of the Child Behaviour Checklist (K-CBCL).

The mean K-CBCL score in the study sample was 15.6±12.2. Majority (44.1 percent) of the families did not experience any change in EHDI between the years 2006 and 2009, and 2009 to 2012. In comparison, 4.6 percent and 29.4 percent experienced high and low EHDI increases, while 5.6 percent and 16.4 percent had high and low EHDI decreases, respectively.

Generalized linear mixed models showed that relative to those with no EHDI change, children belonging to families that experienced great drops in EHDI were significantly more likely to start manifesting problem behaviours (β, 0.21±0.09; p=0.016). No such effect was reported for other EHDI change levels.

Subsequent subgroup analysis further revealed that both a high (β, 0.28±0.14; p=0.048) and low (β, 0.32±0.15; p=0.038) drop in EHDI was significantly associated with problem behaviour in girls but not in boys. EHDI decreases were also detrimental for children who did not hold part-time jobs (high: β, 0.26±0.10; p=0.007) and who had middle-level academic achievements (high: β, 0.35±0.15; p=0.019; low: β, 0.33±0.15; p=0.03).

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