Double advantage of parental education for child educational achievement: the role of parenting and child intelligence

Nathalie Tamayo Martinez, Yllza Xerxa, James Law, Fadila Serdarevic, Pauline W Jansen, Henning Tiemeier*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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BACKGROUND: Parental education is one of the best predictors of child school achievement. Higher parental education is not only associated with higher child intelligence, but children from highly educated parents also perform better in school due to other family related factors. This study evaluates the relation between parental education, child non-verbal intelligence and parenting practices with child school achievement.

METHODS: Longitudinal data from a large population-based, multi-ethnic cohort of children in the Netherlands (63% Dutch origin) followed from birth to age 13 years (3547 children; 52.3% girls) were analyzed. School achievement was measured at the end of primary school (12 years of age) with a national Dutch academic test score. Parental education was assessed at age 3 years. The non-verbal intelligence of the child was measured at age 6 years and a full intelligence was measured at age 13 years. Maternal and paternal family routines, harsh parenting and corporal punishment were assessed in early and mid-childhood. Mediation analysis was performed with the G-formula and Structural Equation Models.

RESULTS: Child intelligence partially mediated [B indirect effect =0.54 95% CI (0.46, 0.62) P < 0.001] the association between parental education and child school achievement. Independent of intelligence, family routines [B indirect effect =0.04 95% CI (0.01, 0.07) P < 0.01], but not harsh parenting mediated this association.

CONCLUSIONS: Higher parental education was associated with better school achievement through two independent mechanisms, through higher intelligence of the child and parenting practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)690-695
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

The general design of the Generation R Study is supported by the Erasmus Medical Center-Rotterdam, the Erasmus University
Rotterdam, the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research,
and the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, the Municipal Health Service Rotterdam area, and the Stichting Trombosedienst
and Artsenlaboratorium Rijnmond. Henning Tiemeier was supported by a grant of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific
Research (NWO/ZonMW grant 016.VICI.170.200), Consortium on Individual Development, funding from the European Union
Seventh Framework Program (FP7/2007-2013): ACTION: Aggression in Children: (grant number 602768).
This article was developed as part of the work of the SEED Consortium. SEED stands for Social InEquality and its Effects on
child Development: a study of birth cohorts in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands (Grant # 462-16-030) and is part of the
Dynamics of inequality across the lifecourse Programme of the EU’s New Opportunities for Research Funding Agency Cooperation in Europe (NORFACE) initiative. The consortium members are: Manja Attig, Gwendolin Blossfeld, Marie-Christine Franken, Wei Huang, Pauline Jansen, Claudia Karwath, Lisanne
Labuschagne, James Law (PI), Cristina McKean, Robert Rush, Nathalie Tamayo Martinez, Hans-Gu¨nther Roßbach, Marc van der
Schroeff, Jutta von Maurice, Helen Wareham and Sabine Weinert.

© The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Public Health Association.


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