Isabel Morgan

Socioeconomic Status and Child Cognitive Outcomes at Age 7: Maternal Cortisol as a Possible Mediator

A large body of literature links low socioeconomic status (SES) to low child cognitive outcomes.  It is also widely understood that environmental conditions during pregnancy can have lasting impacts on child cognitive development.  This summer, I joined a research team that aimed to understand how maternal cortisol affects the relationship between socioeconomic status and child IQ.  Essentially-is it that low SES leads to elevated levels of maternal stress,  which then causes low cognitive performance in children?  My responsibilities included performing a literature review on child cognitive development and maternal stress, and using statistical analysis software to analyze the data.  I will share reflections on my experience working with an epidemiologist at Brown University, highlighting the moments that reaffirmed my desire to pursue a career in public health.