Early Childhood Development Risks and Protective Factors in Vulnerable Preschool Children from Low-Income Communities in South Africa

Maria du Toit, Jeannie van der Linde, De Wet Swanepoel

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    2 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Age-appropriate early childhood development is greatly influenced by exposure to various mediating and moderating factors. Developmental outcomes cannot be viewed in isolation, but by considering the interaction of the various risks and protective factors that influence early child development. A non-experimental, cross-sectional research design was employed. Data was collected in a low-income community in Gauteng, South Africa. Caregivers with children (n = 276) between the ages of 3 years and 6 years 11 months (mean 51.57 months; SD ± 12.4) whose children were in a preschool were invited to participate in the research study. Participants were divided into two groups, children with developmental delays and children without a developmental delay. The study sample included high risk, vulnerable preschool children, with a developmental delay prevalence of 80.1% (221/276). Families included were exposed to an average of five (SD ± 1.86) environmental and/or biological risks. According to a logistic regression model, three factors were significantly associated with increasing resilience amongst children with no developmental delay: living with both parents (p < 0.031, OR 4.5, 95% CI 1.2–17.2), caregivers having at least completed Grade 8 to 12 (p < 0.027, OR 11.9, 95% CI 1.4–10.5) and parents being married (p < 0.023, OR 5.1, 95% CI 1.3–20.9). Important protective factors in low-income communities like caregiver education, living with both parents and parental marriage can inform public health messaging and other population-based interventions to support early childhood development.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Community Health
    DOIs
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Jul 2020

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