First Advisor

Andrew J. Mashburn

Term of Graduation

Summer 2021

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology






Children, Black -- Education (Early childhood), Poor children, Emotional intelligence, Social learning



Physical Description

1 online resource (vi, 137 pages)


Children living in poverty are at an elevated risk for experiencing academic, social-emotional, and behavioral difficulties when beginning kindergarten, and early educational achievement gaps between economically disadvantaged and advantaged children are known to persist and widen over time. Black children face additional challenges related to racism, marginalization, minoritization, and oppression--processes which may, like poverty, impact their development by affording them fewer of the high-quality experiences that are critical for early learning. Fortunately, evidence-based social-emotional learning (SEL) programs offer tools to promote the social-emotional and behavioral competencies that support children's school readiness and early learning, and may counteract the adverse impacts of poverty on children's development. Using data from a randomized controlled trial that investigated the efficacy of a multi-year SEL afterschool program called WINGS, the current study tested the hypotheses that Black children (N = 85) growing up within stressful contexts associated with poverty (i.e., challenging parent-child relationships, stressful life events, and financial strain) would have (1) decreased self-regulatory skills at kindergarten entry and (2) slower development of self-regulation during kindergarten, and (3) that enrollment in WINGS would buffer kindergarteners' self-regulatory development from the harmful impacts of the stressful contexts of parenting. Results indicated only partial support for the hypotheses: a key finding was that parents' exposure to more stressful life events predicted slower development of children's self-regulatory competencies during kindergarten. Implications for research and practice are discussed.


© 2021 Eli Labinger

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