Literature Review: The Role of Environmental Factors in Human Development.

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Literature Review

Parfitt, Pike & Ayers (2014) found is a positive relationship between parental mental health, the infant’s characteristics, the couple’s relationship, parental perceptions of the parent-infant relationship, parent-infant interaction, and infant’s cognitive, language and motor development. The authors used 42 couples, of age between 26 and 46 years and have been in relationship between 1 year and 25 years. In the discussion section, the authors explain the results, which showed that parent’s perceptions of their infant’s characteristics were an important predictor of children’s cognitive, language and motor development. Also, the results show a positive association between the mother’s perception of the mother-infant relationship and the child’s language development and the father’s perception of the father-infant relationship with the child’s motor development. However, the authors were surprised to find no association between observed parent-infant interactions and the infant’s development. For instance, there is no association between prenatal and postnatal mental health (depression, anxiety, and PTSD) and children’s development.

Linebarger (2015) found that parenting style play a significant role in children’s video game exposure. Responsive parenting helps in moderating video game exposure, which addresses hyperactivity and inattention in preschool and school-age children.  The article contributes to the debate on whether adolescent exposure to video games increases violence. Santrock (2015) identified the factors that influence a child’s moral development, which include the parents, society and genetics. However, parents have the biggest influence on moral development because of they are the first socialization agents. Also, different parenting styles influence disparities in moral development (Santrock, 2015). Gilman, et al. (2003) claimed that family disruption and socioeconomic status has a significant effect on the development of major depression in adulthood. Children are at high risk of developing depression in adulthood due to parents’ conflict.

About the physical, social and environmental factors, Parfitt, et al. (2014) were interested in the physical and psychological effects of parental mental health, the infant’s characteristics, the couple’s relationship, parental perceptions of the parent-infant relationship, and parent-infant interaction on the infant’s cognitive, language and motor development. They found a positive relationship between perception of the mother-infant relationship and the child’s language development while perception of the father-infant relationship and the child’s motor development. However, they there was no association between prenatal and mental health and the child’s development. Parfitt, et al. (2014)’s findings are consistent with Santrock (2015)’s view on the influence of society and parents in the children and adolescents’ development. Parents play a crucial role in the child’s language and motor development, which influences cognitive development (Santrock, 2015).

Linebarger (2015) examined the physical and physiological effects of parenting styles in relation to children’s exposure to violent video games. School-age children’s hyperactivity levels leads increases the chances of exposure to video games. Therefore, there is the need for parental guidance on violent and nonviolent content. Gilman, et al. (2003) found that family disruption such separation and divorce affect children’s cognitive development. Also, low socioeconomic status contributes to the development of depression because children grow up without quality health care. Research by Linebarger (2015) and Gilman, et al. (2003) explains the effect of parenting on a child and adolescent’s moral and cognitive development. According to Santrock, 2015), the parenting styles such as permissive and authoritarian styles have different effect on a child and adolescent’s moral development. For example, a permissive parenting style make children to resent adults who give them direction. An authoritarian parenting style creates low self-esteem in a child. Therefore, Linebarger (2015) and Gilman, et al. (2003)’s addresses the effect of parenting on a child’s moral and cognitive development.

Developmental psychologists have historically studied the effects of parental mental health, the infant’s characteristics, the couple’s relationship, parental perceptions of the parent-infant relationship, and parent-infant interaction on the infant’s cognitive, language and motor development (Parfitt, et al. 2014). This study showed that parent’s perceptions of their infant’s characteristics were an important predictor of children’s cognitive, language and motor development. Unlike previous research, the study did not find association between maternal postnatal PTSD and the infant’s cognitive development.

Development Psychologists established a positive relationship between exposure to violent video games and the development of violent behavior. Linebarger (2015) agrees with the previous research on the effect of violent video games on children. However, the author emphasizes the role of parents to the exposure of children to violent video games. Furthermore, parents’ socioeconomic status has been linked with children’s development, both physically and cognitively. For example, there is a positive relationship between parents’ socioeconomic status and academic achievement (Gilman, et al. 2003). Also, the authors found that family disruption causes depression in adulthood.

Parfitt, Pike & Ayers (2014) used participants from 42 families recruited from a longitudinal study known as the Sussex Journey to Parenthood Study (UK). The study was conducted through observations and clinical interviews. The design was appropriate because it included both observation and interviews. The researchers not only observed the development of the child, but also interviewed the parents to counter-check the observation. Linebarger (2015) used survey research method to examine 788 preschoolers (2- years) and 391 school-age children (6-8 years). The research involved interviewing parents on the children’s exposure to video games. Gilman, et al. (2003) used survey research method with 1,104 offspring of mothers enrolled during pregnancy as participants. Interviews were used to assess the participants’ onset of major depression between the ages of 18 and 39 years.

Research Design

Gap Identification

Parfitt, Pike & Ayers (2014) found a positive relationship between perception of the mother-infant relationship and the child’s language development while perception of the father-infant relationship and the child’s motor development. On parenting and exposure to violent video games, Linebarger (2015) found that parenting style play a significant role in children’s video game exposure. Gilman et al. (2003) found that children are at high risk of developing depression in adulthood due to parents’ conflict. However, researchers have not identified the relationship between socioeconomic status and academic achievement.

Research Question

Does parent’s socioeconomic status (SES) affect children’s academic achievement?

Research Design

The study would use correlational research because I am looking at quantitative data. Also, I want to determine the strength of the association between SES and academic achievement. My independent variable is SES and dependent variable is academic achievement. I would recruit participants from North Carolina. I would use purposive sampling to identify high schools from high SES and low SES areas. I would choose two high schools from each SES area. After recruiting the participants, I would examine the children’s socioeconomic background and academic achievement in two school terms, that is, a period of 8 months. The study is likely to be affected by selecting schools whose academic achievement is affected by other factors rather than socioeconomic backgrounds of children. I would address the bias by considering children’s individual academic achievement rather than the whole school.

Issues of Ethics

I would need to check the school records to identify the student’s personal information about their parents’ level of education and occupation, which will lead to determination of their incomes. This is private information; I would need to obtain informed consent from the school administration and parents. I would write a letter to the school administration to allow me use their data with the parents’ consent.  This plan was influenced by historical factors in the manner that throughout the history of research, it is important seek the participants’ consent first.

Informed

In this research, the parents must be willing to provide personal information, which include income, occupation and the level of education.  For example, Parfitt, et al. (2014) obtained informed consent from 42 participants, of age between 26 and 46 years who have been in a relationship for 1 to 25 years. Linebarger (2015) obtained informed consent from parents who were willing to participate in the observation of their parenting styles. (Gilman, et al. 2003) studied the participants who agreed to talk about their personal lives from childhood and whether parents’ separation or divorce affected their cognitive development.  Therefore, the articles in the literature review guided my ethical consideration by considering the importance of informed consent.

Conclusion

The identified gap in the research should be explored in future research because it will contribute to finding the solution to the problem of income inequality in society. The solution to income inequality lies partly in the education sector. Although hard work and determination to succeed plays a crucial role in academic achievement, the parent’s socioeconomic status is also a significant factor. Therefore, it is important to explore the relationship between parents’ socioeconomic status and the children’s academic achievement to find out if education funding in low-income areas would raise the students’ academic achievement.

The authors acknowledge that the environment plays a significant role in human development. Parfitt, Pike & Ayers (2014) found that there is an association between perception of the mother-infant relationship and the child’s language development. Also, the authors found an association between perception of the father-infant relationship and the child’s motor development. Gilman et al. (2003) associated adulthood depression with parents’ conflict in childhood. Linebarger (2015) examined the role of parenting style in video game exposure.  Therefore, authors acknowledge the role of the environment in cognitive development, which is essential in academic achievement. It is important to examine if the parents’ socioeconomic status, which is also an environmental factor, affects children’s academic achievement.

Studying the relationship between SES and academic achievement is beneficial to the field of psychology in the manner that it helps Psychologists to determine if socioeconomic status affects a child’s cognitive development. Psychologists can measure the effect socioeconomic status on cognitive development by examining the children’s academic achievement. This will help in enacting policies that aim at increasing income in low socioeconomic backgrounds.

References

Gilman, S. E., Kawachi, I, Fitzmaurice, G.M & L. Buka, S. (2003). Family Disruption in Childhood and Risk of Adult Depression. American Journal of Psychiatry: Official Journal of the American Psychiatric Association, (5), 939. https://doi-org.ezproxy.snhu.edu/10.1176/appi.ajp.160.5.939.

Linebarger, D. L. (2015). Contextualizing video game play: The moderating effects of cumulative risk and parenting styles on the relations among video game exposure and problem behaviors. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 4(4), 375–396. https://doi-org.ezproxy.snhu.edu/10.1037/ppm0000069

Parfitt, Y., Pike, A., & Ayers, S. (2014). Infant Developmental Outcomes: A Family Systems Perspective. Infant & Child Development, 23(4), 353.

Santrock, J. W. (2015). A topical approach to life-span development (8th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

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