THE MATERNAL SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS ON PUPILS COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT IN OYO EAST L.G.A., OYO STATE
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Background to the Study
Children from different socioeconomic backgrounds have divergent academic, language, and social emotional outcomes yet there are no universally accepted mechanisms to explain this association between maternal socioeconomic status and children’s development. Many children have parents who are able to meet their needs, but other children are at risk of not receiving early interpersonal interactions needed for healthy development because parents are not aware of infants’ developmental needs (Lerner & Nightingale, 2016; Weber, Fernald, & Diop, 2017).
Cognitive development are the mental skills that are used in the process of acquiring knowledge and solving problems, including reasoning, memory, visual-spatial skills, and attention. These include competencies such as socio-emotional regulation, self-control, conscientiousness, locus of control, and the ability to work and interact with others (Burks, Carpenter, Goette & Rustichini, 2009; Hanushek & Woessmann, 2012).
Cognitive development is the construction of thought processes, including remembering, problem solving, and decision-making, from childhood through adolescenceto adulthood (Bjorklund, 2004). Mental development and cognitive development are used interchangeably in several literatures.
Pica (2003) described mental development as how a person perceives, thinks, and gains understanding of his or her world through the interaction of genetic and learned factors. Among the areas of mental development are information processing, intelligence, reasoning, language development, and memory.
It was once believed that infants lacked the ability to think or form complex ideas and remained without cognition until they learned language. It is now known that babies are aware of their surroundings and interested in exploration from the time they are born. From birth, babies begin to actively learn. They gather, sort, and process information from around them, using the data to develop perception and thinking skills (Thornton, 2003). However, parents play a role in their children’s mental development.
Although pupils are preverbal, parents’ responsive language and emotional sensitivity provides information infants need to learn about their environment and about themselves as social beings (Lock & Zukow-Goldring, 2010). The types and amounts of interactions pupils engage in during the first 2 years of life set the beginning of their trajectories for language and executive control as well as their expectations for social interactions (Bigelow & Power, 2016). These trajectories and expectations provide the foundation for infants’ first 4 years of life as observed in effects on brain architecture and function (Bernier, Calkins, & Bell, 2016). The amount of early interpersonal stimulation infants experience predicts their ease or difficulty managing current and future interpersonal relationships (Baker & Rimm-Kaufman, 2014; Hedenbro & Rydelius, 2014).
Globally, the importance of women socio-economic status (SES) in the family is a commonplace fact. SES affects overall human functioning, including development across the life span, physical and mental health. Variance in socioeconomic status, including disparities in the distribution of wealth, income, and access to resources, affects everyone; however, women are overrepresented among those living in poverty. Women are more often responsible for raising children and are increasingly likely to raise children alone. This fact is one of the many reasons that the socioeconomic standing of women is of great importance to the well-being of future generations and as such to this study. Everyone benefits from an increased focus on the foundations of socioeconomic inequities and efforts to reduce the deep gaps in socioeconomic status in the United States and abroad (Birrell & Khoo, 2005). Inequities in wealth and quality of life for women are long standing and exist both locally and globally (Keith & Benson, 1992). Historically and presently, in the United States, men are paid more than women, even when they have the same level of education and are in the same occupational field (Ibid). Findings of the American Census Survey (ACS) indicate that among individuals possessing a graduate or professional degree, on average, the women earned about 66.4% of what the men earned (Shin, 2005). While they make less money, women are more likely to be single heads of household than men, thus bearing the responsibility of raising children with fewer economic resources. In 2006, there were about 14 million female heads of household, compared to 5 million male heads of household in the United States (Shin, 2005).
Women are a cornerstone of African economic development (OECD, 2004). According to the Ghana Statistical Service (2010), a female heads a family in every household in Ghana which means that more and more women are becoming the backbone of the family as breadwinners and are working quietly and unacknowledged to keep the economy of Ghana going.
Each mother has her own psychosocial resources she draws upon when she performs her parenting responsibilities. Psychosocial resources are influenced by mother’s own attributes, for instance education attainment, and the family context she parents within, for instance family income status. Some psychosocial resources are considered beneficial in greater amounts; for instance, a mother’s knowledge of child development (Bornstein, Putnick & Suwalsky, 2017). Other psychosocial resources are considered beneficial in lower amounts; for instance, parenting stress (Garner, Shonkoff, Siegel, Dobbins, Earls, Garner, Pascoe & Wood, 2012). Parenting is stressful for many parents but having resources such as experience in formal education and knowledge of children cognitive development can increase parents’ competence in adjusting their own behavior to promote infant development (Mermelshtine & Barnes, 2016; Deater-Deckard & Panneton, 2017).
Parents’ education and encouragement are strongly related to improved student achievement. Parental education and social economic status have an impact on student achievement. Children whose parents are of high educational scales have a far better statistical chance of participating in secondary Education (Oloo, 2003) and in this sense focusing on women education. Important factors include parental involvement in their children education, how much television children are allowed to watch and how often students change schools (Hammer, 2003).
Kalil, Ryan and Corey (2012) noted that parents with higher levels of education tend to spend a greater percentage of time in developmentally appropriate interactions such as play compared with parents with lower levels of education. More education tends to be associated with greater flexibility in parent expectations for their child as learner as well as a wider variety of skills to adapt to their infant’s behaviors. Additionally, increased education can improve parent awareness of how to find and apply information to increase their opportunities and can increase access to higher paying employment (Harding, Lange, Hansen, Vaever & Koppe, 2015).
Socioeconomic status of parents in one way or the other affects academic achievement. Omoraka (2001) noted that children with rich parents have certain needs, physical and sociological which when met, contribute positively to their academic performance. These needs may include a conducive reading atmosphere, good food, playing ground, provision of books and other material and attendance at the best schools available.
One of the main factors affecting child cognitive development is the family environment, which includes both care and stimulation provided to children by the caregivers, and the socioeconomic status (SES) of the family (Walker, Wachs, Grantham-McGregor, Black, Nelson & Huffman, 2011). During the first years of life, interaction with mother is crucial to ensure adequate psychosocial development of children and the absence of stimulation is associated with early social and cognitive disadvantage (Barlow, 1999; Kendrick, Elkan, Hewitt, Dewey, Blair, & Robinson, 2000). The parental socioeconomic status is a multidimensional construct based on several parameters, such as family income, material resources, education and occupation as well as related neighbourhood and family characteristics (Bradley & Corwyn, 2002).The effects of maternal socioeconomic status on cognitive development of children are well known (Hackman,. & Farah, 2009).
Children who grow up in families with lower SES are at increased risk of reduced psychological well-being and emotional and cognitive development. For example, Hackman, Farah & Meaney (2010) opined that socioeconomic may affect neural development through a variety of different mediators, such as prenatal factors, parental care, cognitive stimulation, nutrition, stress, toxins and drugs exposure. Differences between children coming from households with low and high SES have been documented consistently in developed countries, especially in the areas of linguistic development and executive function.
World Bank report (2009) documents that both quality of the home environment for learning purposes and cognitive development among 36- to 47-month-old children significantly vary by SES. It was stressed that children from various socioeconomic backgrounds receive starkly different inputs in support of their cognitive and overall development, including availability of learning materials in the home and parenting quality (as measured by the mother’s responsiveness and language stimulation).
Family income is an indication of resources available to the family and the degree of economic security the members are likely to experience consistently and in the face of hardship. Families with more income are likely to be in safer neighborhoods and to be able to afford the necessities of caring for an infant with less strain than families with less income (Harding et al., 2015). Parents experiencing a low-income spell may have fewer tangible resources to invest in their infants and may have increased stress levels (Vernon-Feagans et al., 2008; Duncan, Magnuson & Votruba-Drzal, 2017). Parents with less income are less likely to engage in interactions such as reading, singing, or going on an outing with their infants, which can lead to developmental delays (Shah et al., 2015).
Statement of the Problem
The past four decades have witnessed a significant rise in women’s occupation, particularly among women with children in the home. This shift has sparked considerable academic debate regarding the consequences of mothers’ occupation, education, marital status for families, and especially for children (Jacobs & Gerson, 2004). However, due to economic problems most parents or families are currently facing, children are deprived socially, psychologically and economically exposing them to neglect, abuse and exploitation of the highest order leading to mental or cognitive degradation (Shuey & Leventhal, 2017).
Many studies cite maternal socioeconomic status as a leading cause of children cognitive development. For instance, Gottfried, Gottfried, Bathurst, Guerin and Parramore (2003) worked on socioeconomic status in children’s development and family environment: infancy through adolescence. The researchers found that maternal and paternal education explained 16% of the variance in IQ at 8 and 12 years of age, and this finding remained stable at age 17. Santos, Assis, Bastos, Santos, Santos, Strina (2008) conducted a study on the determinants of cognitive function in childhood: a cohort study in a middle income context and found that children aged 5 in northeastern Brazil using the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence (WPPSI). Their SES variable (including information about family purchasing power, mother’s schooling and father-child contact) explained 20% of the variance in the WPPSI score.
Report by Noble, Norman and Farah, (2005) investigated neurocognitive correlates of socioeconomic status in kindergarten children and observed that specific cognitive functions have shown moderate relations between higher SES and better language composite scores in samples of kindergarteners. Makokha, Raburu and Onditi (2018) worked on the effects of parental socioeconomic status on academic achievement of secondary school students and found that there was a significant correlation between the effect of parental socioeconomic status and academic achievement of secondary school students. Loes (2014) found correlations between parental socioeconomic status and adolescent delinquency was not present at the within-family level. However, there were significant associations between within-person fluctuations in disclosure and delinquency. Amy, Garrison, Block, Cramer and Tiller (2012) study revealed that parenting styles are not better predictors of children’s cognitive ability than family socioeconomic-demographic characteristics.
To the best of the researcher’s knowledge, none of the previous studies were conducted on the maternal socioeconomic status on pupils cognitive development in Oyo East L.G.A., Oyo state. In view of this, the present study is intend to fill the gap created by other researchers by examine the maternal socioeconomic status on pupils cognitive development in Oyo East L.G.A., Oyo state
The under listed research questions were raised to guide the conduct of this study:
1. What is influence of maternal socioeconomic status on pupils cognitive development in Oyo East L.G.A., Oyo state?
2. Is there any difference in the influence of maternal socioeconomic status on pupils cognitive development in Oyo East L.G.A., Oyo state based on gender?
3. Is there any difference in the influence of maternal socioeconomic status on pupils cognitive development in Oyo East L.G.A., Oyo state based on mother educational attainment?
4. Is there any difference in the influence of maternal socioeconomic status on pupils cognitive development in Oyo East L.G.A., Oyo state based on mother income?
5. Is there any difference in the influence of maternal socioeconomic status on pupils cognitive development in Oyo East L.G.A., Oyo state based on mother occupation?
Based on the research questions the following hypotheses have been drawn:
- There is no significant difference in the influence of maternal socioeconomic status on pupils cognitive development in Oyo East L.G.A., Oyo state based on gender.
- There is no significant difference in the influence of maternal socioeconomic status on pupils cognitive development in Oyo East L.G.A., Oyo state based on mother educational attainment.
- There is no significant difference in the influence of maternal socioeconomic status on pupils cognitive development in Oyo East L.G.A., Oyo state based on mother income.
- There is no significant difference in the influence of maternal socioeconomic status on pupils cognitive development in Oyo East L.G.A., Oyo state based on mother occupation.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to investigate the maternal socioeconomic status on pupils cognitive development in Oyo East L.G.A., Oyo state. The study will also examine whether the variable of gender, mother educational attainment, mother income and mother occupation would have influence on the respondents response.
Significant of the Study
This study would investigate the maternal socioeconomic status on pupils cognitive development in Oyo East L.G.A., Oyo state. The findings of this study would assist school administration, education policy makers, counsellors, parents, and future researchers.
The findings of this study may be crucial to the school administration to know how mother socioeconomic status can improve pupils’ cognitive development and impact of mothers on their children’s moral values which are crucial to social responsibility.
The findings were also be important to the education policy makers to understand the role parents can play to enhance pupils cognitive development, thus assist them in formulating policies concerning mother, socioeconomic and pupils cognitive development.
The school counsellors would benefit from the finding as to know the influence of mother on pupils cognitive or mental development and to develop appropriate counseling techniques to assist pupils with poor cognitive development. Also parents will benefit from this study as the findings will make them aware of the influence of parents socioeconomic on children cognitive or mental development.
The study will further act as a source of reference material for other researchers in the field of mental or cognitive development; this led to the identification of ways of assisting those children who have mental dilemmas with proper requirements to help them develop right judgment while making choices in everyday life.
Operational Definition of Terms
The following concepts have been defined as used in the study:
Cognitive Development: refers to the acquiring knowledge and solving problems, including reasoning, memory, visual-spatial skills, and attention of primary schools pupils.
Maternal: refers to mother of primary school pupils.
Socioeconomic: refers to social and economic factors of mother of primary school pupils
Scope of the Study
The scope of this study is limited to primary school pupils in Oyo East L.G.A, Oyo state. The study focused on the maternal socioeconomic status on pupils cognitive development in Oyo East L.G.A., Oyo state. Descriptive research design will be adopted for the study and the instrument to be used for collection of data for the study will be structure questionnaire. Two hundred respondents will be randomly selected in selected primary schools for this study using purposive sampling technique. The data generated will be analysed using inferential statistics of t-test and Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) at 0.05 significance alpha level.
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