This study examined (a) whether growing up with lower-educated parents and attending lower parental education schools associated with children's problem development within the behavioral, emotional, and peer relationship domains; and (b) whether the association of lower individual-level parental education with children's development within these three domains depended upon school-level parental education. To this end, 698 children (Mage = 7.08 in first grade) from 31 mainstream elementary schools were annually followed from first grade to sixth grade. Problems within the behavioral domain included conduct problems, oppositional defiant problems, attention-deficit and hyperactivity problems, and aggression. Problems within the emotional domain included depression and anxiety symptoms. Problems within the peer relationship domain included physical victimization, relational victimization, and peer dislike. Results from multi-level latent growth models showed that, as compared to children of higher-educated parents, children of lower-educated parents generally had higher levels of problems within all three domains in first grade and exhibited a faster growth rate of problems within the behavioral domain from first to sixth grade. Furthermore, as compared to children attending higher parental education schools, children attending lower parental education schools generally had higher levels of problems within the behavioral and emotional domains in first grade and showed a faster growth rate of peer dislike over time. In addition, cross-level interaction analyses showed that in higher parental education schools, children of lower-educated parents showed a faster growth rate of depression symptom levels than children of higher-educated parents. In lower parental education schools, the growth rate of depression symptom levels did not differ between children of higher- and lower-educated parents. Results highlight that addressing the needs of lower parental education schools and children growing up with lower-educated parents may be of primary importance.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study is supported by The Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw) (project No. 531003013 ). This study was also supported by the ZonMw Grants # 26200002 and # 120620029 . TAJH was partly funded through a grant awarded by the Norwegian Research Council (project number 288638 ) to the Centre for Global Health Inequalities Research (CHAIN) at the Norwegian University for Science and Technology (NTNU).
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