SES and executive function : exploring the role of home cognitive stimulation in the ECLS-K:2011
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Past findings have established that students from low SES families tend to have poorer academic outcomes in general. What is more concerning is that SES-related differences on academic outcomes between low SES children and high SES children tend to be stable throughout adulthood. Thus, current study attempted to explore the underlying mechanism between socioeconomic status (SES) and executive functioning skills (EF), which contribute to their learning. This study also aimed to examine the mediating role of home cognitive stimulation between socioeconomic status (SES) and executive functioning skills (EF) and its three components: working memory (WM), cognitive flexibility (CF), and inhibitory control (IC) among 5th grade students in the nationally representative dataset, ECLS-K:2011. Results revealed that academic-focused activities partially mediated the relationships between SES and working memory and cognitive flexibility while arts-focused activities fully mediated the relationship between SES and cognitive flexibility. Additionally, findings also indicated that there were differences in biological sex in the mediated pathways between SES and inhibitory control and between SES and cognitive flexibility through academic-focused activities. In sum, findings from the present study highlight the importance of targeting malleable factors to lessen the impact of low SES on children's cognitive development.