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Gesundheitswesen. 2013 Apr;75(4):203-9. doi: 10.1055/s-0033-1341445. Epub 2013 Apr 10.

[Influence of migration background on child development at school-enrolment - a multivariate model].

[Article in German]

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  • 1Senatsverwaltung für Gesundheit und Soziales, Berlin.



There is an increasing awareness for the role of a migration background regarding health over the past years in Germany. Descriptive data show that children from families with a migration background score significantly lower in developmental screening tests at school-enrolment compared to their peers of German origin. The analyses presented here examine the impact of a migration background on child development in the context of additional factors of influence.


Data are from the routine examina-tion at school-enrolment in Berlin in 2010 and 2011 (N=54 818). Because of the multicollinearity of migration background and the German language skills of the child and its parents these variables are combined to one variable. Multiple regression models are conducted with 'poor performance in 2 or more developmental domains' as the dependent variable and the migration variables as the independent variable controlled for sociodemographic and other relevant predictor variables.


The strongest predictor variable is the socioeconomic status of the family (OR 5.8). A migration background is only a predictor in combination with insufficient German language skills of child or parent (OR 1.6) and insufficient German language skills of child and parent (OR 5.3) respectively. Furthermore, very low birth weight children (birth weight < 1 500 g) are at risk for poor performance in 2 or more developmental domains (OR 4.2). Having spent not more than 2 years in day care (OR 1.6), living with a single parent and missing the preventive health check-up at the age of 4 (so called U8) have only a weak significant impact (OR 1.2 each). Electronic media exposure (television, computer) is no significant risk factor in our analyses.


The analyses show that migration background is not a risk factor for poor performance in developmental tests per se, but is attributed to the higher proportion of families with a low socioeconomic status in this group and with insufficient German language skills. This emphasizes the importance of support for socially disadvantaged children in general and for comprehensive promotion of German language skills for children and their parents from foreign origin.

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.

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