Race, Ethnicity, Family Socioeconomic Status, and Children’s Hippocampus Volume

Shervin Assari


Introduction: The hippocampus has a significant role in memory, learning, and cognition. Although hippocampal size is highly susceptible to family socioeconomic status (SES) and associated stress, very little is known on racial and ethnic group differences in the effects of SES indicators on hippocampus volume among American children.

Purpose: This study explored the multiplicative effects of race, ethnicity, and family SES on hippocampus volume among American children.

Methods: Using data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD), we analyzed the functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) data of 9390 9-10 years old children. The main outcome was hippocampus volume. The predictor was parental education. Subjective family SES was the independent variable. Age, sex, and marital status were the covariates. Racial and ethnic group membership were the moderators. To analyze the data, we used regression models.

Results: High subjective family SES was associated with larger hippocampus volume. This effect was significantly larger for Whites than Black families.

Conclusions: The effect of subjective family SES on children’s hippocampus volume is weaker in Black than White families.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22158/rhs.v5n4p25


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