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Exploring the cognitive development of children born to adolescent mothers in South Africa

Steventon Roberts, KJ; Smith, C; Toska, E; Cluver, L; Wittesaele, C; Langwenya, N; Shenderovich, Y; ... Sherr, L; + view all (2023) Exploring the cognitive development of children born to adolescent mothers in South Africa. Infant and Child Development , Article e2408. 10.1002/icd.2408. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

This study explores the cognitive development of children born to adolescent mothers within South Africa compared to existing reference data, and explores development by child age bands to examine relative levels of development. Cross-sectional analyses present data from 954 adolescents (10–19 years) and their first-born children (0–68 months). All adolescents completed questionnaires relating to themselves and their children, and standardized child cognitive assessments (Mullen Scales of Early Learning) were undertaken. Cognitive development scores of the sample were lower than USA reference population scores and relative performance compared to the reference population was found to decline with increasing child age. When compared to children born to adult mothers in the sub-Saharan African region, children born to adolescent mothers (human immunodeficiency virus [HIV] unexposed; n = 724) were found to have lower cognitive development scores. Findings identify critical periods of development where intervention may be required to bolster outcomes for children born to adolescent mothers. Highlights: An exploration of the cognitive development of children born to adolescent mothers within South Africa utilizing the Mullen Scales of Early Learning. Cognitive development scores of children born to adolescent mothers within South Africa were lower compared to USA norm reference data and declined with child age. Previous studies utilizing the Mullen Scales of Early Learning within sub-Saharan Africa were summarized, and comparisons were made with the current sample. Findings highlight a potential risk of developmental delay among children born to adolescent mothers compared to children of adult mothers in the sub-Saharan African region.

Type: Article
Title: Exploring the cognitive development of children born to adolescent mothers in South Africa
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1002/icd.2408
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1002/icd.2408
Language: English
Additional information: © 2023 The Authors. Infant and Child Development published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Adolescent motherhood, child cognitive development, South Africa, sub-Saharan Africa
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health > Infection and Population Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10167426
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