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Mom's Education Linked to Academic Success in Children

Update Date: Nov 10, 2014 06:47 PM EST
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Maternal education can accurately predict academic success in children, according to a new study.

Researchers from the University of Michigan have found a significant line between a mother's education level and her children's reading and math ability.

The latest study compared children of mothers 19 and older to those with mothers 18 and younger. The study revealed that kids of older mothers continue to excel in math and reading at higher levels through eight grade compared to those with younger mothers.

"These results provide compelling evidence that having a child during adolescence has enduring negative consequences for the achievement of the next generation," lead researcher Sandra Tang, a U-M psychology research fellow, said in a news release.

Researchers said the findings show that teen pregnancy harms both mothers and children.

However, researchers noted that children of teen mothers who continue their education after having children perform significantly better academically than those of teen moms who did not continue their education.

"However, these children--and other children born to the mother when she wasn't an adolescent--never catch up in achievement across time to children whose mothers had them after completing their education," co-researcher Pamela Davis-Kean, associate professor of psychology and a research associate professor at the Institute for Social Research and Center for Human Growth and Development, said in a news release. "This group continues to carry a risk for lower achievement."

The latest study used data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort, which involved a nationally representative sample of children who were first interviewed before entering kindergarten in 1998 and then in spring 2007. Children's math and reading scores were also collected during third, fifth and eighth grade.

The findings are published in the Journal of Research on Adolescence.

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