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Type: Journal article
Title: Educational activities on language and behavioural outcomes at school entry are more important for socioeconomically disadvantaged children: a prospective observational study of Australian children
Author: Gialamas, A.
Haag, D.G.
Mittinty, M.N.
Lynch, J.W.
Citation: Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 2020; 74(10):770-777
Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group
Issue Date: 2020
ISSN: 0143-005X
Statement of
Angela Gialamas, Dandara G Haag, Murthy N Mittinty, John W Lynch
Abstract: BACKGROUND: To investigate whether time spent in educational activities at 2-3 years and developmental outcomes at school entry differ among children from different socioeconomic backgrounds. METHODS: Participants were from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (n=4253). Time spent in educational activities was collected using 24-hour time-use diaries. Income was measured using parent self-report. Receptive vocabulary was assessed using the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, and problem behaviours were measured by the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Marginal structural models were used to test whether the effects of educational activities on outcomes differed by income. RESULTS: Children exposed to both <30 min/day in educational activities and being in a low-income household were at greater risk of poorer outcomes at school entry than the simple sum of their independent effects. Compared with children who spent ≥30 min/day in educational activities from high-income households, children who experienced <30 min/day in educational activities from low-income households had a 2.30 (95% CI 1.88 to 2.80) higher risk of having a receptive vocabulary score in the lowest quartile at school entry. The Relative Excess Risk due to Interaction of 0.15 (95% CI -0.38 to 0.67) was greater than 0, indicating a super-additive effect measure modification by income. These patterns were similar for behavioural outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that if there was an intervention of sufficient dose to increase the amount of time spent in educational activities to at least 30 min/day for children in the lower-income group, the risk of children having sub-optimal receptive vocabulary would be reduced by 45% and the risk of teacher-reported conduct and hyperactivity problems reduced by 67% and 70%, respectively.
Cohort studies
Rights: © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2020. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.
DOI: 10.1136/jech-2020-213856
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Paediatrics publications

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