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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Child health, SES and family supports : an application of the Family Stress Model among toddlers in Canada Nohr Dawydiuk, Nicole


Background: The Family Stress Model suggests that socioeconomic status (SES) and family supports (e.g., social supports, community supports and resources) are key predictors of child health. However, it is recognized that there is a gap in the literature applying this knowledge to young children. In this study, a modified version, where there was only a focus on three components of the Family Stress Model is applied to test the main and moderating effects among these variables and their ability to predict overall health in toddlers (ages 12-24 months). Purpose: The purpose of this study was to analyze and identify key findings from the Toddler Development Instrument (TDI) data regarding the associations between economic hardship (household income), social supports (access to family supports) and child health, using a modified Family Stress Model. Methods: Binary logistic regression was used to perform analysis on 803 surveys collected from participating parents of toddlers aged 12-24 months as part of the TDI pilot project data collected through the Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP) at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Data were collected from families across British Columbia, Canada at family and community centers, using convenience sampling. Results: Results showed that SES (household income) and access to family supports was significantly associated with child health. Additionally, access to family supports mediated the relationship between household income and child health. Moderating effects of access to family supports on the relationship of household income and child health were not found to be significant. Conclusions: The study findings support the Family Stress Model and add evidence to the literature that SES and access to family supports are predictors of child health. Attention to these predictors can help researchers, policy makers and providers prioritize areas of support for families with young children.

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