Kyunghee Lee is an Associate Professor at the School of Social Work, Michigan State University. She received her EdD from Harvard University and PhD from Columbia University. Her research focuses on poverty-related issues such as adverse impacts of poverty on children and effective anti-early intervention programs. In particular, she has examined non-parental child care arrangements for low income working mothers in the context of welfare reform and investigated impacts of Head Start program on outcomes for children and families. Her current research focuses on a comparative study of poverty, human development, and parenting practice issues between the US and Japan in a global context.
This study proposes to compare effects of poverty on children's developmental outcomes between Japan and the US. Poverty has been regarded as one of the most significant indicators of children's developmental outcomes. Despite extensive research on poverty itself and its impact on children within single country, either in the US or Japan, how the poverty differently affects on different children living in other countries has rarely been examined. This is partially due to the fact that definition of poverty is being used differently depending on county and the cross cultural comparative studies on child development require numerous components other than poverty itself. Using the longitudinally collected national data set (The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 in the US and the national data to be determined), the associations of of poverty, child development, and family supports will be analyzed to answer questions: 1) Does the associations between poverty and developmental outcomes differ between children in Japan and the US? 2) Do the parenting practices moderate the associations between poverty and children's developmental outcomes both for children in Japan and those in the US? The comparison study with Japan will provide a significant contribution for understanding the relationship between poverty and child development in global context. Hypotheses are: Poverty in Japan has less adverse impacts on child development that those in the US; Family Support, regardless of income level, will significantly moderate negative impacts of poverty on children. The results might indicate that anti-poverty policies should reflect cultural differences and dynamics of poverty on family and children.