Children's academic achievement and behavior problems at the intersection of gender and family environment

Michael Kühhirt, Markus Klein, Ibrahim Demirer

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Abstract

This article investigates whether gender differences in children’s math, reading, and behavior problems vary across mothers’ education and family structure. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth-Children and Young Adults (N > 6,200; age range = 5–14; 51 percent female; 30 percent Black, 20 percent Hispanic, and 50 percent other ethnic backgrounds), we hypothesized that boys growing up with less educated mothers and in single-parent families may lag behind girls more significantly in reading and behavior problems. They may be less ahead in math than their peers from more advantaged backgrounds. Our findings demonstrate this heterogeneity of gender differences by maternal education but not by family structure. This may indicate that cultural norms associated with gender play a significant role in explaining the observed heterogeneity across family circumstances. We replicated these findings for academic achievement using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Kindergarten Class 1998–1999.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalSocius
Volume9
Early online date12 Oct 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2023

Keywords

  • gender inequality
  • academic achievement
  • behavior problems
  • intersectionality

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