The impact of episodic and chronic poverty on child cognitive development

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Objective: To determine whether changes in family poverty between pregnancy, early childhood, and adolescence predict child cognitive development at 14 years of age. Study design: We conducted a population-based prospective birth cohort study of 7223 mothers who gave birth to a live singleton baby, observed to 14 years of age. Family income was measured on 4 occasions from pregnancy to the 14-year follow-up. Child cognitive development was measured at the 14-year follow-up using the Raven's Standard Progressive Matrices and Wide Range Achievement Test. Results: Poverty experienced at any stage of the child's development is associated with reduced cognitive outcomes. Exposure to poverty for a longer duration (birth to 14 years) is more detrimental to cognitive outcomes than experiencing poverty at only 1 period. For each additional exposure to poverty, the Raven's Standard Progressive Matrices scores declined by 2.19 units and the Wide Range Achievement Test scores declined by 1.74 units.

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Journal Article

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