Parenting and child development in rural Mexico: examination of a large-scale parenting program
- Author(s): Knauer, Heather Ashley
- Advisor(s): Fernald, Lia CH
- et al.
Parental warmth, responsiveness, and stimulation are associated with positive child development, but it is unclear how parenting quality in early versus later developmental periods contributes to disparities in child cognitive and socioemotional development in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). This longitudinal study examines the association between early childhood development and parenting quality (low, moderate, high) during infancy and prekindergarten developmental periods.. Parenting quality was defined using scales for “warmth and responsivity”, quantity of “stimulating parenting practices”, and “variety of learning materials” in the home environment, measured using the HOME Inventory in infancy and the Family Care Indicators (FCI) in the prekindergarten period. Child development was assessed in infancy using the Extended Ages and Stages Questionnaire (EASQ) and ASQ Socioemotional scale, and during prekindergarten with the McCarthy Scales of Children’s Abilities. The study sample included 603 children from poor, rural communities in Mexico who were assessed at 4 to 18 months of age and again at 3 to 5 years of age.. The association between parenting quality and child development was examined for differences between indigenous and non-indigenous communities and controlled for child and family demographic characteristics (child age and sex, parent’s educational attainment, and household wealth and crowding). Parenting quality during infancy and prekindergarten were both independently and significantly associated with later child development. However, parenting quality in infancy was no longer significantly associated with later child development after controlling for the effects of child development in infancy. Parental warmth and responsiveness and the availability of learning materials in the home in infancy were significant predictors of child development at 3 to 5 years of age, but parental stimulating practices were not. Conversely, during the prekindergarten period, parental stimulating practices were significant predictors of child development, while the variety of learning materials in the home was not. There were no differences in the association between parenting and child development between indigenous and non-indigenous communities. This study advances the understanding of parenting quality in the early childhood period in LMIC, and among indigenous populations in Mexico.