Early experiences matter: Lasting effect of concentrated disadvantage on children's language and cognitive outcomes
ABSTRACT A small but provocative literature suggests that neighbourhood socioeconomic conditions experienced by children early in life influence a variety of health and developmental outcomes later in life. We contribute to this literature by testing the degree to which neighbourhood socioeconomic conditions that children experience in Kindergarten influence their later language and cognitive outcomes in early adolescence, over and above current neighbourhood context and various child-level covariates including scores on a Kindergarten measure of school readiness. Cross-classified random effects modelling (CCREM) analyses were performed on a study population of 2648 urban children residing throughout the province of British Columbia, Canada, who were followed longitudinally from Kindergarten (age 5/6) to Grade 7 (age 12/13). Findings demonstrate that neighbourhood concentrated disadvantage experienced during Kindergarten has a durable, negative effect on children's reading comprehension outcomes seven years later-providing evidence that early social contextual experiences play a critical role in the lives of children. Possible explanations and future directions are discussed.
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ABSTRACT: Background: Despite much interest in understanding the influence of contexts on health, most research has focused on one context at a time, ignoring the reality that individuals have simultaneous memberships in multiple settings. Method: Using the example of smoking behavior among adolescents in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, we applied cross classified multilevel modeling (CCMM) to examine fixed and random effects for schools and neighborhoods. We compared the CCMM results with those obtained from a traditional multilevel model (MEM) focused on either the school and neighborhood separately. Results: In the MEMs, 52% of the variation in smoking was due to differences between neighborhoods (when schools were ignored) and 6.3% of the variation in smoking was due to differences between schools (when neighborhoods were ignored). However in the CCMM examining neighborhood and school variation simultaneously, the neighborhood level variation was reduced to 0.4%. Conclusion: Results suggest that using MEM, instead of CCMM, could lead to overestimating the importance of certain contexts and could ultimately lead to targeting interventions or policies to the wrong settings.Health & Place 01/2015; 31. DOI:10.1016/j.healthplace.2014.12.001 · 2.44 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Childhood cognitive and test-taking abilities have long-term implications for educational achievement and health, and may be influenced by household environmental exposures and neighborhood contexts. This study evaluates whether age 5 scores on the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence-Revised (WPPSI-R, administered in English) are associated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) exposure and neighborhood context variables including poverty, low educational attainment, low English language proficiency, and inadequate plumbing. The Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health enrolled African-American and Dominican-American New York City women during pregnancy, and conducted follow-up for subsequent childhood health outcomes including cognitive test scores. Individual outcomes were linked to data characterizing 1-km network buffers around prenatal addresses, home observations, interviews, and prenatal PAH exposure data from personal air monitors. Prenatal PAH exposure above the median predicted 3.5 point lower total WPPSI-R scores and 3.9 point lower verbal scores; the association was similar in magnitude across models with adjustments for neighborhood characteristics. Neighborhood-level low English proficiency was independently associated with 2.3 point lower mean total WPPSI-R score, 1.2 point lower verbal score, and 2.7 point lower performance score per standard deviation. Low neighborhood-level educational attainment was also associated with 2.0 point lower performance scores. In models examining effect modification, neighborhood associations were similar or diminished among the high PAH exposure group, as compared with the low PAH exposure group. Early life exposure to personal PAH exposure or selected neighborhood-level social contexts may predict lower cognitive test scores. However, these results may reflect limited geographic exposure variation and limited generalizability.Journal of Child and Family Studies 07/2014; 23(5). DOI:10.1007/s10826-013-9731-4 · 1.42 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The authors took a population-based approach to testing how commonly studied neighborhood socioeconomic conditions are associated with the language and cognitive outcomes of residentially stable rural and urban children tracked from kindergarten (ages 5–6) to Grade 4 (ages 9–10). Child-level kindergarten Early Development Instrument (EDI) data were probabilistically linked to scores on Grade 4's Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA), 4 years later, and to socioeconomic data describing the children's residential neighborhoods. Multilevel analyses were performed for a study population of 5,022 children residing in 105 neighborhoods across British Columbia, Canada: 635 children in 20 rural neighborhoods and 4,825 children in 85 urban neighborhoods. Concentrated immigration consistently predicted better child outcomes. Moreover, the determinants of children's language and cognitive outcomes analyzed cross-sectionally differed from the determinants of outcomes analyzed longitudinally. Furthermore, there were notable differences in the extent of the relationship between neighborhood socioeconomic conditions and rural and urban children's outcomes over time. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.Journal of Community Psychology 04/2010; 38(3):293 - 313. DOI:10.1002/jcop.20365 · 0.99 Impact Factor