Neighbourhood income inequality and preschooler’s internalizing and externalizing problems

  • Author / Creator
    Farmer, Gregory
  • Background Several studies have linked neighbourhood social and economic characteristics to preschool-aged children’s emotional and behavioural problems. Although income inequality has been identified as a risk factor for mental health and behavioural outcomes among adolescents, no studies have been conducted on young children less than 10 years of age. The objective of the current study is to explore the association between neighbourhood-level income inequality and internalizing and externalizing problems among preschool-aged children.
    Methods We analyzed cross-sectional data from the All Our Families (AOF) longitudinal cohort located in Calgary, Alberta at 3-years postpartum. The analytical sample consisted of 1598 mother-preschooler dyads nested within 184 neighbourhoods. Mothers completed the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth adapted Child Behaviour Checklist (NLSCY- CBCL), which assessed internalizing and externalizing symptoms of their child. Multilevel logistic regression modelling was used to assess a relationship between neighbourhood income inequality measured via the Gini coefficient and preschooler’s internalizing and externalizing problems.
    Results The mean Gini coefficient across the 184 neighbourhoods was 0.33 (S.D = 0.05) and ranged from 0.23 to 0.55. Neighbourhood income inequality was not associated with either externalizing (OR = 1.04, 95%CI: 0.89, 1.20) or internalizing (OR = 0.96, 95%CI: 0.84, 1.14) problems in preschoolers. Before-tax household income was significant in internalizing (OR = 1.38, 95%CI: 1.02,1.86), however, was not significant for externalizing problems in fully adjusted models.
    Conclusion Neighbourhood-level inequality is not associated with internalizing or externalizing problems at 3-years of age. No association was observed among preschool-aged children because they may be too young to experience its effects or are more sensitive to the household environment such as lower household incomes, as opposed to their neighbourhood environment.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2022
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.