While increased household income is associated with overall decreased screen time for children, less is known about the effect of racial variation on this association. According to Minorities’ Diminished Returns (MDRs) theory, family income and other economic resources show weaker association with children’s developmental, behavioral, and health outcomes for racialized groups such as black families, due to the effect of racism and social stratification. In this study, we investigated the association, by race, between family income and children’s screen time, as a proxy of screen time. This longitudinal study followed 15,022 American children aged 9–11 over a 1-year period. The data came from the baseline of the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study. The independent variable was family income, and it was categorized as a three-level nominal variable. The dependent variable, screen time, was a continuous variable. Ethnicity, gender, parental education, and marital status were the covariates. The results showed that family income was inversely associated with children’s screen time. However, there was a weaker inverse association seen in black families when compared with white families. This was documented by a significant statistical interaction between race and family income on children’s screen time. Diminished association between family income and children’s screen time for black families, compared with white families, is similar to MDRs and reflects a health risk to high-income black children. In a society where race and skin color determine opportunities and treatment by society, children from middle class black families remain at risk across multiple domains. We should not assume that income similarly promotes the health of all racial and ethnic groups. Addressing health and behavioral inequalities requires interventions that go beyond equalizing socioeconomic resources for black families. Marginalization, racism, and poverty interfere with the normal family income-related development of American children.
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