Socioeconomic status and early child development in East Asia and the Pacific: The protective role of parental engagement in learning activities

Jin SUN, Carrie LAU, Alanna SINCOVICH, Nirmala RAO

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Abstract

This study examined whether there were family SES-related gaps in early development and considered whether parental engagement in early learning activities at home served as a protective factor in low- and middle-income countries in East Asia and the Pacific using the validation data of the East Asia–Pacific Early Child Development Scales (EAP-ECDS). Participants were 7583 children (including 3772 girls), ranging in age from 36 to 59 months, and their mothers or fathers. Participants lived in six countries (Cambodia, China, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and Vanuatu) in the Asia-Pacific region. SES was indexed by parental education, occupation and family wealth; engagement in learning activities was determined based on reports of mothers' and fathers' engagement in six typical cognitive and socio-emotional caregiving activities; and early child development was assessed using the EAP-ECDS. Results indicated the existence of SES gradients in early development in multiple domains in China, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, and Vanuatu. In addition, maternal and paternal engagement were found to moderate the relationship between family SES and early child development in particular domains across countries, suggesting interventions that promote increased parental engagement with children at home could be effective in mitigating SES-related development gaps in low- and middle-income countries. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-330
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Volume93
Early online dateAug 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018

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Far East
Child Development
Social Class
social status
Vanuatu
Mongolia
Learning
Papua New Guinea
Mothers
Fathers
learning
China
Cambodia
Papua-New Guinea
Melanesia
Indonesia
Occupations
father
income
Education

Bibliographical note

Sun, J., Lau, C., Sincovich, A., & Rao, N. (2018). Socioeconomic status and early child development in East Asia and the Pacific: The protective role of parental engagement in learning activities. Children and Youth Services Review, 93, 321-330. doi: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2018.08.010

Keywords

  • Socioeconomic status
  • Early child development
  • Parental engagement
  • East Asia–Pacific early child development scales (EAP-ECDS)