Children with secondary care episodes for otitis media have poor literacy and numeracy outcomes: A data linkage study

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Abstract

We examined the association between otitis media (OM) and educational attainment in a retrospective population cohort of Western Australian children who participated in the grade 3 National Assessment Program—Literacy and Numeracy in 2012 (N = 19,262). Literacy and numeracy scores were linked to administrative hospital and emergency department data to identify secondary care episodes for OM. Results of multivariate multilevel models showed that children with OM episodes had increased odds of poor performance on literacy and numeracy tests, compared to children without OM episodes (46–79% increase in odds for Aboriginal children; 20–31% increase in odds for non-Aboriginal children). There were no significant effects found for age at the first episode, nor for OM episode frequency (all ps > 0.05). Regardless of the timing or frequency of episodes, children with OM episodes are at risk of poor literacy and numeracy attainment. Aboriginal children with OM appeared to be particularly at risk of poor literacy and numeracy achievement. Intervention to reduce the prevalence of otitis media in young children, and early treatment of OM, are important for limiting the negative effects on academic outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10822
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume18
Issue number20
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2021

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