Poor children exposed to foster care have higher adolescent IQ scores

Preschool children living in deprived communities who have access to a nursing home environment have significantly higher information allowance (IQ) scores compared to those raised without nurturing care. That is the discovery of a new international study by researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM), which examined data from more than 1600 children from Brazil and South Africa who were tracked from birth through their teens. The results were announced this week in Lancet Health for Children & Young People iris.

The researchers analyzed data from long-term studies conducted in Brazil and South Africa to determine whether children exposed to early problems (such as extreme poverty, weight gain) could low birth, or premature birth) reach their full potential by learning with careful care and opportunities to learn at home.

They found that prenatal and early life enemies are important in life. Teenagers who had been exposed to many disorders early in life had lower IQ scores, were more likely to change socially and psychologically, and had lower physical height compared to teens who were exposed to fewer problems. They also found that being raised in a nurturing environment could significantly increase the negative impact of early enemies on IQ and help children reach their full intellectual potential.

We found that teenagers raised in nurtured environments had IQ scores that averaged 6 points higher than those that did not. This is a striking difference that has a huge impact on increasing the knowledge of all communities. A nurturing environment also led to better and less psycho-social problems in adolescence, but it did not diminish the impact of early conflicts on growth and psycho-social problems. “

Maureen Black, PhD, Associate Research Author, John A Scholl Professor of Pediatrics and Mary Louise Scholl, UMSOM

Globally, more than 250 million children under the age of 5 are at risk of not reaching their developmental potential due to problems that occur early in life and accumulate with age. In the U.S., nearly one in five children is raised in poverty and 15 percent do not finish high school, with higher rates for children in Black and Hispanic families. Exposing these children to a nurturing environment, whether at home or in day care or preschool settings, can reap mental benefits lasting into adolescence and beyond.

“I think our decisions could apply to communities here in the U.S. where children are hungry, living in poverty or without access to medical care,” the council said. Dr. Black.

Additional study lead author Angela Trude, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the UMSOM Department of Pediatrics, “Parents want to provide nurturing environments and we need their help.” She said this includes interacting with young children in a positive way such as reading children’s books from the library, singing songs together, and playing games with numbers and letters. . Children who engage in age-appropriate activities with adult supervision such as picking up toys and cleaning the table acquire skills and feel good about helping.

“Get children involved in friendly activities as much as possible instead of parking them in front of a screen,” said Dr Black. to become teenagers and adults with the potential to care for themselves, their families and their communities. “

The research was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“As the world suffers from a global pandemic, we cannot allow our youngest children to fall through the cracks,” said E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, Vice President Medical Affairs, UM Baltimore, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean, University of Maryland School of Medicine. ”This research highlights the importance of nurturing caregivers, both at at home and at school to help children lead more productive lives as adults. “


University of Maryland School of Medicine

Magazine Reference:

Trude, ACB, et al. (2020) The effects of careful care and learning opportunities during preschool ages on the association of early adversaries and adolescent human capital: a study of birth peers in two middle-income countries. Lancet Child and Adolescent Health. doi.org/10.1016/S2352-4642(20)30309-6.