Early experiences matter: Lasting effect of concentrated disadvantage on children's language and cognitive outcomes

Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP), University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6T 1Z3.
Health & Place (Impact Factor: 2.81). 11/2009; 16(2):371-80. DOI: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2009.11.009
Source: PubMed


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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    • "First, our results emphasize the need to extend current analytic approaches from the basic multilevel model to examine cross-classification. Although there have been some studies using CCMM (see for example Leyland and Naess, 2008; Lloyd et al., 2010; Utter et al., 2011; Riva et al., 2009; Moore et al., 2013; Virtanen et al., 2010; Basile et al., 2012 "
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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 (MLM) focused on either the school and neighborhood separately. Results: In the MLMs, 5.2% 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 MLM, 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 · 2.81 Impact Factor
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    • "Although regression models adjusted for several potential confounding variables, there was no direct control for parenting skills. The analysis controlled for various factors that may be associated with parenting skills, including maternal age and education, marital status, and family income (5,7,10,12,23). EPSDT use may be correlated with parenting skills, which may be more important determinants of school readiness than EPSDT visits. However, many parenting skills can be taught and are typically addressed by parental anticipatory guidance in well-child care (5,11). "
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    ABSTRACT: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a schedule of age-specific well-child visits through age 21 years. For children insured by Medicaid, these visits are called Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT). These visits are designed to promote physical, emotional, and cognitive health. Six visits are recommended for the first year of life, 3 for the second year. We hypothesized that children with the recommended visits in the first 2 years of life would be more likely than others to be ready for school when they finish kindergarten. We studied children insured by Medicaid in South Carolina, born during 2000 through 2002 (n = 21,998). Measures included the number of EPSDT visits in the first 2 years of life and an assessment of school readiness conducted at the end of kindergarten. We used logistic regression to examine the adjusted association between having the recommended visits and school readiness, controlling for characteristics of mothers, infants, prenatal care and delivery, and residence area. Children with the recommended visits had 23% higher adjusted odds of being ready for school than those with fewer visits. EPSDT may contribute to school readiness for children insured by Medicaid. Children having fewer than the recommended EPSDT visits may benefit from school readiness programs.
    Preventing chronic disease 06/2012; 9(6):E111. DOI:10.5888/pcd9.110333 · 2.12 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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