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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111


GONZALEZ, Llúcia et al. The role of parental social class, education and unemployment on child cognitive development. Gac Sanit [online]. 2020, vol.34, n.1, pp.51-60.  Epub May 18, 2020. ISSN 0213-9111.


Assessing the association between socioeconomic gradient and cognitive development among children of a Spanish birth cohort aged 5-6 years from a gender perspective.


Cognitive development was assessed on 525 children aged 5-6 years in the INMA-Valencia cohort, with the Global Cognitive Score (GCS) from McCarthy Scales of Children's Abilities. Information on social class, education level and employment was collected for both parents in addition to other sociodemographic factors, parental, family and child characteristics. The relationship between maternal and paternal socioeconomic gradient and cognitive development was assessed by linear regressions and comparing the variance explained by each indicator measured in the mother and father.


Maternal socioeconomic gradient indicators explained more variance on GCS than paternal. Maternal education and paternal social class had an important individual effect that stayed after adjusting by other parental, child and family determinants. In the multivariable analysis, maternal education, age and intelligence, paternal social class and the child's age and sex were significantly associated with cognitive development.


Diverse socioeconomic gradient factors have an important influence on cognitive development, maternal education being the strongest determinant. Policies should be implemented to mitigate the negative effects of this gradient on child development.

Keywords : Cognitive development; Socio-economic gradient; Children; Parental education; Gender perspective.

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