Testing Equivalence of Mediating Models of Income, Parenting, and School Readiness for White, Black, and Hispanic Children in a National Sample


  • This research was supported by Grant 5R01HD042144 from NICHD awarded to the authors. The authors wish to thank Margaret Clements, faculty affiliates of the Center for Research on Poverty, Risk, and Mental Health, and the NYU Seminar in Humanities and Social Science for their insights and advice on earlier drafts of this manuscript.

concerning this article should be addressed to C. Cybele Raver, Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago, 1155 East 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637. Electronic mail may be sent to cybele@uchicago.edu.


This paper examines complex models of the associations between family income, material hardship, parenting, and school readiness among White, Black, and Hispanic 6-year-olds, using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study–Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS–K). It is critical to test the universality of such complex models, particularly given their implications for intervention, prevention, and public policy. Therefore this study asks: Do measures and models of low income and early school readiness indicators fit differently or similarly for White, Black, and Hispanic children? Measurement equivalence of material hardship, parent stress, parenting behaviors, child cognitive skills, and child social competence is first tested. Model equivalence is then tested by examining whether category membership in a race/ethnic group moderates associations between predictors and young children's school readiness.