The Cost of Housing Instability: The Effect on a Child's Literacy Skills
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. College of Social Work Honors Theses; 2020
The present study assesses the consequences of housing instability on childhood literacy skills. Housing instability encompasses a variety of housing related issues, such as crowding, frequent moves, housing status, and an inability to pay rent. Housing instability has been associated with childhood outcomes and can negatively affect a child's education and health. Using data from wave 5 of the Fragile Families and Child Well-being study, this study examines the relationship between housing instability and literacy skills in 9-year-old participants. This study has three dependent variables that capture literacy skills: (1) standard scoring on the Peabody Vocabulary Test, (2) primary teacher assessment of spelling, and (3) primary teacher assessment of reading. The independent variable of this study is housing status operationalized as free, rental, or owned housing. Pearson's Chi Squared tests, T-tests, One-Way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), Post-hoc Tukey's Honest Significant Difference test, and an OLS Regression model were conducted to assess the relationship between housing instability and childhood literacy skills. The findings of this study show that there is a significant relationship between housing instability and literacy skills. Children residing in rental housing reported significantly lower reading, spelling, and vocabulary skills. Children of homeowners displayed overall higher literacy skills compared to children of renters and children residing in free housing.
Academic Major: Social Work