Poverty Affects Brain Development, Academic Performance in Children

Those from the poorest households had the greatest deficits.

Children living in poverty generally perform poorly in school, with markedly lower standardized test scores and lower educational attainment. The longer children live in poverty, the greater their academic deficits. These patterns persist to adulthood, contributing to lifetime-reduced occupational attainment.

The purpose of the study was to determine whether atypical patterns of structural brain development mediate the relationship between household poverty and impaired academic performance.

Researchers performed a longitudinal cohort study analyzing 823 magnetic resonance imaging scans of 389 typically developing children and adolescents aged 4 to 22 years from the National Institutes of Health Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study of Normal Brain Development with complete sociodemographic and neuroimaging data.

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