Diminished Protective Effects of Household Income on Internalizing Symptoms among African American than European American Pre-Adolescents

Shervin Assari, Sondos Islam


Aim: To investigate the differential role of race on the effect of household income on pre-adolescents’ internalizing symptoms in a national sample of U.S. pre-adolescents. Methods: This is a cross-sectional study that used data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study. Wave 1 ABCD data included 5,913 adolescents between ages 9 and 10 years old. The independent variable was household income. The primary outcome was internalizing symptoms measured by the teacher report of the Brief Problem Monitor (BPM) scale. Results: Overall, high household income was associated with lower levels of pre-adolescents internalizing symptoms. Race showed statistically significant interaction with household income on pre-adolescents’ internalizing symptoms, controlling for all confounders, indicating weaker protective effect of high household income on internalizing symptoms for African American than European pre-adolescents. Conclusion: High household income is a more salient protective factor against internalizing symptoms of socially privileged European American pre-adolescents than of historically marginalized African Americans pre-adolescents. Elimination of internalizing behavioral gaps across racial groups requires more than equalizing socioeconomic status. Future research should study the moderating role of institutional and structural racism experienced by African American families across all income levels. Such research may explain why pre-adolescent African Americans with high household income remain at high risk of internalizing symptoms.

Full Text:


DOI: https://doi.org/10.22158/jetmm.v2n4p38


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2020 Shervin Assari, Sondos Islam

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Copyright © SCHOLINK INC.   ISSN 2642-2409 (Print)    ISSN 2642-2417 (Online)