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Family Socioeconomic Status Moderates Associations Between Television Viewing and School Readiness Skills

Ribner, Andrew BA; Fitzpatrick, Caroline PhD; Blair, Clancy PhD

Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics: April 2017 - Volume 38 - Issue 3 - p 233–239
doi: 10.1097/DBP.0000000000000425
Brief Reports

Objective: We examined whether the negative relation between television viewing that exceeds the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and school readiness varied by family income.

Methods: Data were collected from 807 children from diverse backgrounds. Parents reported hours of television viewing, as well as family income. Children were assessed using measures of math, knowledge of letters and words, and executive function (EF).

Results: Television viewing was negatively associated with math and EF but not with letter and word knowledge. An interaction between television viewing and family income indicated that the effect of television viewing in excess of the AAP recommended maximum had negative associations with math and EF that increased as a linear function of family income. Furthermore, EF partially mediated the relation between television viewing and math.

Conclusion: Television viewing is negatively associated with children's school readiness skills, and this association increased as family income decreased. Active efforts to reinforce AAP guidelines to limit the amount of television children watch should be made, especially for children from middle- to lower-income families.

*Department of Applied Psychology, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, New York University, New York, NY;

Department of Social Sciences, Université Sainte-Anne, Church Point, Nova Scotia, Canada;

PERFORM Center, Concordia University, Montreal, QC, Canada.

Address for reprints: Andrew Ribner, BA, 194 Mercer St, New York, NY 10012; e-mail:

Supported by Institute of Education Sciences grant R305A100058.

Disclosure: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Received August , 2016

Accepted December , 2016

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