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 ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2007  |  Volume : 53  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 27-33

The role of family configuration in early childhood intellectual development in the context of an extended family system in Pakistan


1 Nutrition and Public Health Intervention Research Unit, Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK; Epidemiology and Biostatistics Division, Department of Community Health Sciences, The Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan
2 Division of Biostatistics, Department of Epidemiology, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University, 100 Conrad Hall, East Lansing, USA
3 Epidemiology and Biostatistics Division, Department of Community Health Sciences, The Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan

Correspondence Address:
B I Avan
Nutrition and Public Health Intervention Research Unit, Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK; Epidemiology and Biostatistics Division, Department of Community Health Sciences, The Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0022-3859.30324

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Context: The confluence theory of intelligence by Zajonc and Markus emphasizes that individual intellectual difference of children manifests itself in the context of family configuration. Instead of assuming its generalizability, careful scientific work is required before applying the model to South Asian cultures where, predominantly, an extended family type exists. Aims: To assess the role of extended family configuration on the child's intellectual development in a South Asian setting. Settings and Design: A cross-sectional study was conducted on 4-5-year-old preschool children residing in Karachi, Pakistan. Materials and Methods: Three hundred and forty-two child and mother dyads were assessed through a validated cognitive psychometric tool and through a structured questionnaire. Children who were registered at the main Mother and Child Health Centres (MCH) of the Aga Khan Health Services, Pakistan (AKHSP) Karachi and who were born between July 1st 1993-June 30th 1994 with traceable birth records at the maternity homes, were considered for this study. Statistical Analysis: Multivariate linear regression models were used to identify the individual effect of family configuration on the intellectual scores. Results: Family configuration variables such as number of co-residents ( P < 0.05) and the number of siblings ( P < 0.01) in the house were significantly correlated with the psychometric score. Even after controlling for gender, socio-economic status, birth order and birth intervals, significant differentials were observed in favor of an extended family system on a child's intellectual development. Conclusion: The findings suggest the positive role of co-residents of an extended family environment on the intellectual development in early childhood.






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Online since 12th February '04
2004 - Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
Official Publication of the Staff Society of the Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, India
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