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Brain structure abnormalities in adolescent girls with conduct disorder

The investment pathway provided an equally valuable explanation for the association between poverty and conduct problems. As in previous studies economic deprivation restricted parental ability to invest in enriching educational experiences, which in turn led to lower cognitive ability in early childhood. Consistent with our hypothesis, cognitive ability predicted differences in conduct problems across ages 4, 5, and 6. Although poverty predicted nutritional investment in line with previous findings the pathway from nutrition via cognitive ability was not significant, possibly due to the moderate association between the two investment variables (r = 0.44).

Overall, the above findings extend our theoretical understanding in that, an investment pathway from poverty to conduct problem should include cognitive ability as a key mediator in line with previous findings on the mediating role of cognitive ability on parental investment Additionally, it demonstrates how the effect of childhood poverty on cognitive ability and conduct problems can create a cycle of poverty in adulthood. Children living in poverty are more likely to begin school with significant disadvantages that include lower cognitive ability and higher levels of conduct problems, factors that may make them lose substantial grounds in educational attainment to their peers A resultant poor educational outcome and increased conduct problems over time means fewer prospects and success in the labor market, thereby creating a cycle of povertyBreaking this cycle will therefore require attention to both raising educational attainment and reducing conduct problems. Further research is however needed in order to understand the directionality and nature of the relationship between cognitive ability and conduct problems.