The Bell Curve Chapter 9 - Welfare Dependency Chapter 10 - Parenting Sondra M. Parmer March 13, 2003
What is (was) Welfare? Aid For Dependent Children (AFDC) began in the mid-1930s to help widows and abandoned women with children. AFDC peaked in the 1960s, began declining in the 1980s, and then rising again since 1988. There were more than 14 million individuals on welfare in 1992. AFDC does not exist anymore - Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 -TANF, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
Going on Welfare after the Birth of the First Child Using NLSY database - white women only 17% of normal to very bright went on welfare within one year of the birth of their first child. 76% of dull and very dull went on welfare within one year of the birth of their first child. H&M compared IQ with the probability of going on welfare the first year after the birth of the first child. They held constant the three standard variables of age, IQ, and parental SES, and controlled for marital status, and poverty (confounding variables).
Findings Findings indicated that cognitive ability affects probability of going on welfare with the lower the IQ the greater the chance to go on welfare. 47% of women in the 2d centile for IQ had a probability of going on welfare as compared to only 8% in the 98 th centile. The role of education – couldn’t determine for college education – too small of a sample. HS – same findings as before – IQ independently affects probability of welfare with the lower the IQ, the greater the probability.
Chronic Welfare Dependency H&M define chronic welfare dependency as those women on welfare for greater than 8 years. Analyses for this sample were under a tight restriction of range due to very limited numbers on chronic welfare in the normal to very bright cognitive ability categories – write of only 5. H&M conduct the same comparison as before – age, IQ, parental SES, controlling for marital status and poverty. Findings indicated that both IQ and parental SES are important related to chronic welfare dependency.
Chronic Welfare Dependency - Why? H&M make a case for education being the determining factor between parental SES and IQ. Women who had not finished high school – parental SES was the main risk factor. hypothesis – Parental behavior – support for cyclical welfare system. Women who had finished high school – IQ was the main risk factor.
Question to be Answered... “Are people with high IQs generally better parents than people with low IQs?”
Social Class and Parenting Styles Melvin Kohn (late 1950s) – work related to parenting and discipline –working class parents are most concerned with children’s behavior associated with respecting authority –middle-class parents are more concerned with children’s behavior as it is internally regulated. Anthropologist, Shirley Brice Heath – work on parenting and its influence on intellectual differences among the social classes –findings indicate that the parent-child interactions differed depending on social class (working class Vs. middle income households) –these differences in interactions accounted for differing intellectual growth of the children over time
Social Class and Malparenting Malparenting is defined as child abuse and child neglect. “The Myth of Classlessness” –malparenting occurs at any and all SES levels, but that it is not an even distribution –malparenting is highly concentrated in lower SES groups
Parental IQ and Parenting H&M syllogism: If cognitive ability is a cause of socioeconomic status (Chapter 5), and if SES is associated with parenting style (yes, according to H&M), then cognitive ability must be related to parenting style. This link can only be suggested as indirect with the given information. Linking low IQ with abusive or neglectful parenting –Studies relating minimal education for the parent with child neglect and abuse –Polanky’s work with neglectful mothers – limited intelligence –Studies linking malparenting with parental personality characteristics such as impulsiveness and inconsistency (potential indicators of low IQ) H&M are concerned with the lack of use of IQ as a variable when examining malparenting.
Maternal IQ and the Well-Being of Infants How do women of varying IQs care for their children? –Prenatal care similar findings for all intelligence groups related to: –getting prenatal care –getting prenatal care early –alcohol consumption –miscarriage and stillbirths different findings for SMOKING –the more intelligent the woman, the less likely she smoked during pregnancy –Dull and Very Dull - 51% smoked during pregnancy –Normal and Bright - 16% smoked during pregnancy
Maternal IQ and the Well-Being of Infants –Low Birth Weight less than 5.5 pounds at birth, excluding premature babies IQ is a risk factor Poverty has only small effect Mother’s age at time of birth - no effect –Infant Mortality death before the first birthday intuitively, there should be a link data are inconclusive
Poverty Throughout Early Childhood H&M examined children in poverty during first 3 years of life as compared to children not in poverty in first 3 years of life. Mother with average intelligence + average SES < 5% chance of child living in poverty in first 3 years. Decreases sharply from there.
Developmental Outcomes Mother’s IQ impacts: Temperament in Very Young Children – lower the IQ, the more irritable the child Motor and Social Development in Infants and Toddlers – greater numbers of poor development in the dull and very dull categories, although a curious large number also in very bright category Behavioral Problems in Older Children – greater numbers of behavioral problems in the dull and very dull categories, although a curious large number also in very bright category Cognitive Outcome for the Child – lower the mother’s IQ, the greater the chance of having a child with a low IQ
Final Conclusions Smarter people are better parents than people with low cognitive ability based on several factors ranging from prenatal care to postnatal treatment of the child. The smartest people do not necessarily make the best parents, due to resiliency and differing natures of children. Homes with the most serious disadvantages for children are disproportionately in the homes of low IQ mothers.