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Saving Accounts for Children Encourage Good Social-Emotional Growth

Update Date: Feb 07, 2014 04:06 PM EST

Financial stability is a key factor for one's overall wellbeing regardless of age. People who feel secure have less stress over topics such as food and housing. In a new study, researchers examined the relationship between money in the form of a college savings account and children's social-emotional growth. The researchers found that children who have these accounts under their own names are more likely to have improved social-emotional development.

In this study, the research team from the Washington University in St. Louis' Center for Social Development (CSD) worked with the state of Oklahoma to create a program called SEED of Oklahoma Kids (SEED OK) in 2007. SEED OK was an experiment that involved monetary investments in select children. The program started a college savings account with $1,000 for 1,360 infants. The researchers compared SEED OK children to a control group of kids without an account. They found that children with a SEED OK account had better development that the children without the account.

"The theory behind SEED OK is that accumulating assets within a household may positively affect the family's outlook on that child's future," said Michael Sherraden, PhD, the Benjamin E. Youngdahl Professor of Social Development and director of the CSD. "Now, seven years later, we're beginning to see this work yielding promising results."

Sherraden added, according to Medical Xpress, "It appears to be the account and holding assets that matter. Even if a mother does not have her own money to contribute at the moment."

The researchers measured social-emotional development by asking parents about three specific categories, which were self-regulation, compliance and interaction with others. The children were around four-years-old when the questionnaires were filled out.

The study, "Effects of Child Development Accounts on Early Social-Emotional Development: An Experimental test," was published in JAMA Pediatrics.

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