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Household wealth and adolescents' social-emotional functioning in schools


This study attempts a two-part shift in educational research narrowly fixated on the socioeconomic determinants of student test-score performance. First, we focus on variations in how to measure wealth. Second, we move beyond achievement and focus on the wealth determinants of adolescents' social-emotional competencies. Using data from a nationally-representative sample of US eighth graders, we find that the correlation between wealth and social-emotional competencies varies according to how the partitions among the upper class, the middle and working classes, and the poor are defined. By emphasizing wealth in the production of classed social-emotional competencies not captured by test scores, our findings suggest that the growth of household wealth has a more salient effect for lower- and middle-class adolescents than the highest class which appears to have the least to gain, in terms of social-emotional competencies, from an increase in household wealth.

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