Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Selina Pacheco L&S Social Sciences

Is Mental Health at Stake for High-Achieving Children in Poverty?

Childhood family income is a powerful predictor of academic achievement and mental health. Prior research indicates that children in poverty with better academic performance and more depressive symptomatology tend to have higher temporal coupling between lateral frontoparietal network (LFPN; supports executive functions) and Default Mode Network (DMN; supports internally-directed thought) than lower-performing children in poverty, in direct contrast to the pattern observed for children above poverty. Thus, an open question is whether this pattern of connectivity adaptive for children in poverty has maladaptive long-term consequences, particularly for mental health. This project will analyze whether, among children living in poverty, those who beat the odds by succeeding academically are subsequently either protected from, or more at risk for, internalizing disorders such as anxiety and depression.This research has important implications for supporting children in poverty by illuminating mechanisms for, and potential maladaptive consequences of, their resilience in academic contexts.

Message To Sponsor

I would like to express my deepest gratitude to my generous donors. Your unwavering support will enable me to extend the scope of my independent research project, which holds significant implications for children growing up in impoverished circumstances, much like my own background. Your contribution is a testament to your commitment to advancing knowledge in our field, and your confidence in my work fills me with immense gratitude.
Major: Psychology
Mentor: Monica E. Ellwood-Lowe and Silvia A. Bunge
Sponsor: Leadership Fund
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