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28.04.2016 | Ausgabe 5/2016

Prevention Science 5/2016

Income and Cognitive Stimulation: A Reanalysis of the Minnesota Family Investment Program

Prevention Science > Ausgabe 5/2016
Sam Portnow, Saida Hussain


Correlational research suggests that parents engage in more cognitive stimulation with their children when their income increases as reported by Votruba-Drzal (Journal of Marriage and Family 65:341–355, 2003). The present study uses data from an evaluation of the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), a welfare program that allows families to combine their work payments with their welfare benefits. We used the dataset in order to assess the causal impact of income on how often mothers engage their young children (N = 69) in cognitively stimulating activities. Results indicated that single mothers, who were long-term welfare recipients and received the financial benefits of the MFIP without employment training services, engaged in more cognitively stimulating activities with their children, relative to mothers who received traditional Aid to Families with Dependent Children. Contrary to expectations, an increase in income did not appear to cause the increase in cognitive stimulation. Rather, a reduction in work hours, without a drastic loss of income, appeared to cause the increase in cognitive stimulation. Implications for future work and policy are discussed.

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