Lawson, Gwendolyn M.

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Now showing 1 - 2 of 2
  • Publication
    Childhood Socioeconomic Status: Distinct Correlates Of Specific Types Of Experience
    (2016-01-01) Lawson, Gwendolyn M.
    Childhood socioeconomic status (SES) is often studied alongside a number of related constructs, such as subjective SES, race/ethnicity, and childhood maltreatment. At times, these and other constructs are considered together as measures of ‘cumulative risk’ or ‘early life stress.’ However, little is known about their similar or distinct impact on development. The present research was aimed at better understanding the ways that childhood SES and related constructs predict a range of developmental outcomes. Chapter 1 examined the relations between childhood SES, childhood maltreatment and the structure of the hippocampus and amygdala in young adulthood. Childhood maltreatment, but not childhood SES, predicted smaller hippocampal volumes. The research in Chapter 2 examined the relationship between childhood SES, race, and parent and teacher report of ADHD symptoms in two samples of school-aged children. Results showed that these relationships differed depending on whether parents or teachers were reporting symptoms: lower SES and African American race were associated with higher levels of symptoms as reported by teachers, but not by parents. Chapter 3 examined objective SES and subjective SES as predictors of academic achievement in a diverse sample of high school seniors. Analyses revealed that objective SES and subjective SES showed opposite relationships with achievement: while adolescents from higher SES backgrounds, as measured objectively, showed higher achievement on a range of measures, those who perceived themselves as higher SES earned lower grades and standardized test scores and were less likely to be enrolled full-time in college after high school. Collectively, these results suggest that childhood SES and related experiences show distinct relationships to a range of behavioral and neural outcomes.
  • Publication
    Childhood Socioeconomic Status and Executive Function in Childhood and Beyond
    (2018-08-24) Lawson, Gwendolyn M.; Last, Briana S.; Breiner, Kaitlyn; Farah, Martha J; Steinberg, Laurence
    Socioeconomic status (SES) predicts health, wellbeing, and cognitive ability, including executive function (EF). A body of recent work has shown that childhood SES is positively related to EF, but it is not known whether this disparity grows, diminishes or holds steady over development, from childhood through adulthood. We examined the association between childhood SES and EF in a sample ranging from 9–25 years of age, with six canonical EF tasks. Analyzing all of the tasks together and in functionally defined groups, we found positive relations between SES and EF, and the relations did not vary by age. Analyzing the tasks separately, SES was positively associated with performance in some but not all EF measures, depending on the covariates used, again without varying by age. These results add to a growing body of evidence that childhood SES is associated with EF abilities, and contribute novel evidence concerning the persistence of this association into early adulthood.