Early life neighborhood, school, and household socioeconomic conditions and young adult working memory

Kristen M. Schorpp, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

While the literature has documented socioeconomic disparities in early life cognitive development and adult cognitive function, conceptualization and measurement of socioeconomic conditions is often limited. Further, the mechanisms that underlie these associations remain unclear. Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, this study examines the longitudinal associations of household, neighborhood, and school disadvantage with young adult working memory. I find significant, inverse associations of disadvantage across all contexts with working memory, though these associations are mostly due to household and school disadvantage. Interaction models indicate that the association of adult disadvantage with adult working memory is moderated by early life disadvantage, such that downward mobility is the most detrimental for working memory. Further analysis will utilize multilevel models to more closely examine how timing and contexts of disadvantage additively and multiplicatively affect adult working memory, and will also test underlying mechanisms that might explain these associations.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 89: Health in contexts