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Child Dev. 1994 Apr;65(2 Spec No):346-60.

Early indications of resilience and their relation to experiences in the home environments of low birthweight, premature children living in poverty.

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Center for Research on Teaching and Learning, University of Arkansas at Little Rock 72204.


The caregiving environment experienced by 243 premature, low birthweight (LBW) children living in poverty was examined to determine whether the quality of care such children receive affords them some measure of protection from the generally deleterious consequences of poverty and prematurity. Only 26 children were identified as functioning in the normal range for cognitive, social/adaptive, health, and growth parameters at age 3. These children, who showed early signs of resiliency, differed from nonresilient children in that they were receiving more responsive, accepting, stimulating, and organized care. They were also living in safer, less crowded homes. 6 "protective" aspects of caregiving were identified and used as part of a cumulative protection index. Children with less than 3 protective aspects of caregiving present at age 1 had only a 2% probability of being resilient, and only a 6% probability if fewer than 3 were present at age 3. Overall, premature LBW children born into conditions of poverty have a very poor prognosis of functioning within normal ranges across all the dimensions of health and development assessed. However, those raised in a setting with 3 or more protective factors were more likely to show early signs of resiliency.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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