The researchers say material hardship and stress associated with unemployment can reduce the quality of the home environment and adversely affect children.
"There is growing evidence that parental job loss has adverse consequences on children's behavior, academic achievement and later employment outcomes, particularly in economically disadvantaged families," Heather Hill, a professor in the School of Social Service Administration, said in a university release Tuesday.
Studying largely low-income families, Hill said she found that job loss is linked with increasing behavioral problems by children in the classroom by more than 40 percent.
However, parental unemployment can lead to problems for children regardless of the family's income status, the researchers said.
Parental stress and depression "can lead to less nurturing and harsher parenting," Hill said.
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