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Research Spotlight: Weina Zhou

Posted by Department of Economics on April 2, 2024 in News

“The Spillover Effects of Parental Verbal Conflict on Classmates' Cognitive and Noncognitive Outcomes,” published in 2023 in Economic Inquiry (with Andrew J. Hill, Montana State University).

Students experiencing conflict at home are known to exhibit disruptive behaviors in the classroom.

This study shows that children exposed to Interparental Verbal Conflict (IPVC) exert negative spillovers on their peers. We find that being assigned to classes where more classmates experience IPVC in their family environments reduces mental wellbeing, self-confidence, and social engagement, and increases the likelihood of problem behaviors.

Contrary to some of the existing literature, effects on test scores are minimal and not statistically significant.

We also find that students of higher quality parents—parents who are more communicative and invest more time in their children—are less affected by negative classmate influences.

This is some of the first evidence that parents may be able to insulate their children directly or indirectly from negative peers


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