To evaluate social adjustment and related factors among Chinese children with Down syndrome (DS).
Patients and Methods
A structured interview and Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT) were conducted with a group of 36 DS children with a mean age of 106.28 months, a group of 30 normally-developing children matched for mental age (MA) and a group of 40 normally-developing children matched for chronological age (CA). Mean scores of social adjustment were compared between the three groups, and partial correlations and stepwise multiple regression models were used to further explore related factors.
There was no difference between the DS group and the MA group in terms of communication skills. However, the DS group scored much better than the MA group in self-dependence, locomotion, work skills, socialization and self-management. Children in the CA group achieved significantly higher scores in all aspects of social adjustment than the DS children. Partial correlations indicate a relationship between social adjustment and the PPVT raw score and also between social adjustment and age (significant r ranging between 0.24 and 0.92). A stepwise linear regression analysis showed that family structure was the main predictor of social adjustment. Newborn history was also a predictor of work skills, communication, socialization and self-management. Parental education was found to account for 8% of self-dependence. Maternal education explained 6% of the variation in locomotion.
Although limited by the small sample size, these results indicate that Chinese DS children have better social adjustment skills when compared to their mental-age-matched normally-developing peers, but that the Chinese DS children showed aspects of adaptive development that differed from Western DS children. Analyses of factors related to social adjustment suggest that effective early intervention may improve social adaptability.