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BMJ. 2006 Sep 2;333(7566):472. Epub 2006 Jul 28.

Effects of psychosocial stimulation and dietary supplementation in early childhood on psychosocial functioning in late adolescence: follow-up of randomised controlled trial.

Author information

  • 1Epidemiology Research Unit, Tropical Medicine Research Institute, University of the West Indies, Mona, Kingston 7, Jamaica. susan.walker@uwimona.edu.jm

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine whether dietary supplementation or psychosocial stimulation given to growth retarded (stunted) children age 9-24 months has long term benefits for their psychosocial functioning in late adolescence.

DESIGN:

Sixteen year follow-up study of a randomised controlled trial.

SETTING:

Poor neighbourhoods in Kingston, Jamaica.

PARTICIPANTS:

Of 129 stunted children identified at age 9-24 months, 103 adolescents aged 17-18 were followed up.

INTERVENTION:

Supplementation with 1 kg milk based formula each week or psychosocial stimulation (weekly play sessions with mother and child), or both, for two years.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Anxiety, depression, self esteem, and antisocial behaviour assessed by questionnaires administered by interviewers; attention deficit, hyperactivity, and oppositional behaviour assessed by interviews with parents.

RESULTS:

Primary analysis indicated that participants who received stimulation had significantly different overall scores from those who did not (F = 2.047, P = 0.049). Supplementation had no significant effect (F = 1.505, P = 0.17). Participants who received stimulation reported less anxiety (mean difference - 2.81, 95% confidence interval - 5.02 to - 0.61), less depression (- 0.43, - 0.78 to - 0.07), and higher self esteem (1.55, 0.08 to 3.02) and parents reported fewer attention problems (- 3.34, - 6.48 to - 0.19). These differences are equivalent to effect sizes of 0.40-0.49 standard deviations.

CONCLUSIONS:

Stimulation in early childhood has sustained benefits to stunted children's emotional outcomes and attention.

PMID:
16877454
PMCID:
PMC1557928
DOI:
10.1136/bmj.38897.555208.2F
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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