The quality of children’s social interactions and their attachment security with a primary caregiver are two widely studied indices of socioemotional functioning in early childhood. Although both Bowlby and Ainsworth suggested that the parent-child interactions underlying the development of attachment security could be distinguished from other aspects of parent-child interaction (e.g., play), relatively little empirical research has examined this proposition. The aim of the current study was to explore this issue by examining concurrent relations between toddler’s attachment security in the Strange Situation Procedure and quality of mother-child social interaction in a high-risk sample of toddlers characterized by prenatal cocaine exposure and low levels of maternal education. Analyses of variance suggested limited relations between attachment security and quality of social interaction. Further research examining the interrelations among various components of the parent-child relationship is needed.
Child; Attachment; Social Interaction; Prenatal Cocaine Exposure
Objective To improve representation of minorities in research, we examined recruitment methods from our study of Latino and non-Latino families of children with Intellectual Disability (ID). Method We compared recruitment strategies that yielded the enrollment target of 200 matched Latino and nonLatino families of children with ID and controls. Active recruitment strategies involved direct contact with potential participants; passive strategies included disseminating study information. Results Effective outreach focused on community agencies where children had ongoing involvement and utilizing bilingual/bicultural staff. Latino families were significantly more likely to be recruited by an active strategy than non-Latino families. Active and passive strategies were both effective with non-Latino ID families. Asking research participants to inform other families about the study and sharing consent to contact lists with other investigators was productive with control families. Conclusions Bilingual staff and active recruitment through familiar community services were successful in recruiting Latino families for research.
family; Latino; minority recruitment
Objective This article presents a summary of findings from asthma studies focusing on immigration and acculturation-related factors. A study examining associations between these processes, family cohesion and social support networks, and asthma morbidity in a sample of Dominican and Puerto Rican caregivers residing in the mainland U.S., is also described. Methods Latino children with asthma (n = 232), ages 7–16 (49% female) and their caregivers completed interview-based questionnaires on immigration and acculturation-related processes, family characteristics, and asthma morbidity. Results The frequency of ED use due to asthma may be higher for children of caregivers born in Puerto Rico. Acculturative stress levels were higher for Puerto Rican born caregivers residing in the mainland U.S. Conclusion Asthma-related educational and intervention programs for Latino children and families should be tailored to consider the effects that the immigration and acculturation experience can have on asthma management. Specific family-based supports focused on decreasing stress related to the acculturation process, and increasing social and family support around the asthma treatment process may help to reduce asthma morbidity in Latino children.
acculturation; asthma morbidity; immigration
We call for a genetically informed approach in the examination of infant social and emotional development in family context. We recommend that scholars conceptualize family functioning as occurring on three unique levels: the parent-child dyad, the inter-parental dyad, and whole family functioning. Although advances in the area of understanding genetic variation in infants as a potential moderator of the influence of parent-child dyadic functioning have been made over the past decade, it is time to widen this inquiry to consider genetic variation in infants as a potential moderator of the influence of inter-parental dyadic and whole family functioning as well. A critical review of the literature also calls for additional examination of genetic variation in infants as a moderator of positive contextual influences, the integration of unique temperament variables with studies of infant genotype, consideration of the role of the gene-environment correlation, and epigenetic effects. Furthermore, we call for the application of genetically-informed research methods to these questions. Expanding knowledge in this area has the potential to refine treatment and prevention efforts aimed at promoting infant social and emotional development.
family functioning; infancy; temperament; gene-environment interactions; development
The lifetime prevalence of self-reported asthma among Puerto Ricans is very high, with increased asthma hospitalizations, emergency department visits, and mortality rates. Differences in asthma severity between the mainland and island, however, remain largely unknown.
We sought to characterize differences in asthma severity and control among 4 groups: (1) Island Puerto Ricans, (2) Rhode Island (RI) Puerto Ricans, (3) RI Dominicans, and (4) RI whites.
Eight hundred five children aged 7 to 15 years completed a diagnostic clinic session, including a formal interview, physical examination, spirometry, and allergy testing. Using a visual grid adapted from the Global Initiative for Asthma, asthma specialists practicing in each site determined an asthma severity rating. A corresponding level of asthma control was determined by using a computer algorithm.
Island Puerto Ricans had significantly milder asthma severity compared with RI Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, and whites (P < .001). Island Puerto Ricans were not significantly different from RI whites in asthma control. RI Puerto Ricans showed a trend toward less control compared with island Puerto Ricans (P = .061). RI Dominicans had the lowest rate of controlled asthma. Paradoxically, island Puerto Ricans had more emergency department visits in the past 12 months (P < .001) compared with the 3 RI groups.
Potential explanations for the paradoxic finding of milder asthma in island Puerto Ricans in the face of high health care use are discussed. Difficulties in determining guideline-based composite ratings for severity versus control are explored in the context of disparate groups.
Asthma; severity; control; clinical guidelines; Global Initiative for Asthma; Latino; Puerto Rican; Dominican; Rhode Island; health care use
Siblings of children with disabilities are at risk for internalizing psychological disorders; however little is known about how culture influences this effect. This study examined the psychological and school functioning of Latino siblings of children with Intellectual Disability (ID).
Participants were 100 Latino (L) and nonLatino (NL) siblings (8–15 years) of children with ID (50 LID, 50 NLID) and 100 Latino and nonLatino control siblings (50 LC, 50 NLC). Siblings, parents, and teachers completed standard questionnaires regarding sibling emotional and behavioral functioning; sibling school report cards were obtained. Analyses of variance were conducted, controlling for parent age and family income; planned contrasts compared LID siblings to the other sibling groups.
LID siblings reported significantly more internalizing (t(1) = 2.41, p <.05) and emotional t(1) = 3.06, p <.05) symptoms, poorer awareness of (t(1) = 2.26, p <.01) and greater reluctance to express (t (1) = 3.12, p <.01) their emotions, and more problems in personal adjustment and relationships with parents (t(1) = −2.50, p <.05). Significantly higher percentages of LID siblings scored in the at-risk or clinical range for internalizing and emotional symptoms, and were more likely to score above the clinical cut-off for separation anxiety disorder and to endorse global impairment. LID siblings experienced more school absences and lower academic performance. There were no group differences in externalizing behavior problems, somatic symptoms, or teacher-reported internalizing symptoms.
Latino siblings of children with ID are at greater risk for internalizing psychological disorders and greater impairment in personal and school functioning. Results are discussed in terms of their sociocultural significance and clinical implications.
Siblings; intellectual disability; Latino; culture
The purpose of this study is to examine the association between child and parent somatic symptom reporting and pediatric asthma morbidity in Latino and non-Latino white children.
The study consists of 786 children, 7 to 15 years of age, in Rhode Island (RI) and Puerto Rico. Children’s and parents’ levels of general somatic symptoms were assessed with well-established self-report measures. Clinician-determined asthma severity was based on reported medication use, asthma symptom history, and spirometry results. Asthma-related health care use and functional morbidity was obtained via parent self-report.
Child and parent reports of general somatic symptoms were significantly related to pediatric asthma functional morbidity when controlling for poverty, parent education, child’s age, and asthma severity. In controlling for covariates, Latino children in RI reported higher levels of somatic symptoms than Island Puerto Rican children, and RI Latino parents reported more somatic symptoms than RI non-Latino white parents (p < .05).
This study replicates and extends to children in previous research showing higher levels of symptom reporting in Latinos relative to whites. Results also provide new insight into the relation between general somatic symptom reports and pediatric asthma. Ethnic differences in somatic symptom reporting may be an important factor underlying asthma disparities between Latino and non-Latino white children.
asthma; health disparities; somatization
This study examined the relationship between obesity and asthma symptom perception in 200 youth with asthma. Repeated subjective and objective peak flow measurements were summarized using the Asthma Risk Grid (Klein et al., 2004), resulting in Accurate, Symptom Magnification and Danger Zone scores. Analyses were stratified by age and included ethnicity.
For younger children, obesity was not significantly related to perception scores. For older children, a significant obesity-by-ethnicity interaction for Accurate Symptom Perception scores indicated that obese white children had lower accuracy than white nonobese children, while there was no difference for obese versus nonobese minority children. Obesity was also related to higher Symptom Magnification scores regardless of ethnicity for older children.
These findings suggest that obesity may complicate asthma management by interfering with the ability to accurately perceive symptoms for some patients. More remains to be learned about the role of sociodemographic factors underlying this relationship.
Asthma; Body mass index; Obesity; Symptom perception; Children
To determine whether a multi-dimensional cumulative risk index (CRI) is a stronger predictor of asthma morbidity in urban, school-aged children with asthma, than poverty or severity alone.
A total of 163 children with asthma, ages 7–15 years (42% female; 69% ethnic minority) and their primary caregivers completed interview-based questionnaires, focusing on potential cultural, contextual, and asthma-specific risks that can impact asthma morbidity.
Higher levels of cumulative risks were associated with more asthma morbidity, after controlling for poverty level or asthma severity. Analyses by ethnic group and subgroup also supported the relationship between the CRI and specific indices of asthma morbidity.
This study demonstrates the utility of multiple-dimensional risk models for predicting variations in asthma morbidity in urban children. Research efforts with urban families who have children with asthma need to consider the context of urban poverty as it relates to children’s cultural backgrounds and specific asthma outcomes.
asthma risks; urban
The objective of this study was to examine associations between specific dimensions of the multidimensional cumulative risk index (CRI) and asthma morbidity in urban, school-aged children from African American, Latino and Non-Latino White backgrounds. An additional goal of the study was to identify the proportion of families that qualify for high-risk status on each dimension of the CRI by ethnic group. A total of 264 children with asthma, ages 7–15 (40% female; 76% ethnic minority) and their primary caregivers completed interview-based questionnaires assessing cultural, contextual, and asthma-specific risks that can impact asthma morbidity. Higher levels of asthma-related risks were associated with more functional morbidity for all groups of children, despite ethnic group background. Contextual and cultural risk dimensions contributed to more morbidity for African-American and Latino children. Analyses by Latino ethnic subgroup revealed that contextual and cultural risks are significantly related to more functional morbidity for Puerto Rican children compared to Dominican children. Findings suggest which type of risks may more meaningfully contribute to variations in asthma morbidity for children from specific ethnic groups. These results can inform culturally sensitive clinical interventions for urban children with asthma whose health outcomes lag far behind their non-Latino White counterparts.
Pediatric asthma; Cumulative risks; Ethnic minority; Urban
This study determines asthma-related health care access and utilization patterns for Latino children of Puerto Rican and Dominican origin residing in Rhode Island (RI) and Latino children residing in Puerto Rico (Island). Data included 804 families of children with persistent asthma recruited from clinics. Island children were less likely to receive regular asthma care and care from a consistent provider and more likely to have been to the emergency department and hospitalized for asthma than RI children. Island children were 2.33 times more likely to have used the emergency department for asthma compared with RI non-Latino White (NLW) children. Latino children residing in both Island and RI were less likely to have used specialty care and more likely to have had a physician visit for asthma in the past year than RI NLW children. The differences might reflect the effects of the different delivery systems on pediatric health care utilization and asthma management.
asthma; Hispanic Americans; Latino; children; health service accessibility; health care utilization; Puerto Rico
Disparities in asthma outcomes exist between Latino and non-Latino white (NLW) children. We examined rates of medication use, medication beliefs, and perceived barriers to obtaining medication in US and island Puerto Rican parents of children with asthma
Island PR parents would report the lowest rates of controller medication use, followed by RI Latino and RI NLW parents; Latino parents would report more medication concerns than NLW parents; and Island PR parents would report the most barriers to medication use.
Five hundred thirty families of children with persistent asthma participated, including 231 Island PR, 111 RI NLW, and 188 RI Latino. Parents completed survey measures.
Group differences were found on reported use of ICS (X2 = 50.96, P <0.001), any controller medication (X2 = 56.49, P <0.001), and oral steroids (X2 = 10.87, P <0.01). Island PR parents reported a greater frequency of barriers to medication use than the other two groups (X2 = 61.13, P <0.001). Latino parents in both sites expressed more medication concerns than NLW parents (F = 20.18, P <0.001). Medication necessity was associated with ICS use in all three groups (all P’s <0.01). Medication concerns were positively associated with ICS use in PR only (OR = 1.64, P <0.05).
Differences in medication beliefs and the ability to obtain medications may explain the reported disparity in controller medication use. Further studies are needed to evaluate these obstacles to medication use.
disparities; adherence; asthma; ethnicity; childhood; medication use
Epidemiologic studies have documented higher rates of asthma prevalence and morbidity in minority children compared to non-Latino white (NLW) children. Few studies focus on the mechanisms involved in explaining this disparity, and fewer still on the methodological challenges involved in rigorous disparities research.
Objectives and Methods
This article provides an overview of challenges and potential solutions to research design for studies of health disparities. The methodological issues described in this article were framed on an empirical model of asthma health disparities that views disparities as resulting from several factors related to the healthcare system and the individual/community system. The methods used in the Rhode Island–Puerto Rico Asthma Center are provided as examples, illustrating the challenges in executing disparities research.
Several methods are described: distinguishing ethnic/racial differences from methodological artifacts, identifying and adapting culturally sensitive measures to explain disparities, and addressing the challenges involved in determining asthma and its severity in Latino and other minority children. The measures employed are framed within each of the components of the conceptual model presented.
Understanding ethnic and/or cultural disparities in asthma morbidity is a complicated process. Methodologic approaches to studying the problem must reflect this complexity, allowing us to move from documenting disparities to understanding them, and ultimately to reducing them.
asthma; health disparities; Latino; Puerto Rican; children; research methods
Emotions and behaviors observed during challenging tasks are hypothesized to be valuable indicators of young children's motivation, the assessment of which may be particularly important for children at risk for school failure. The current study demonstrated reliability and concurrent validity of a new observational assessment of motivation in young children. Head Start graduates completed challenging puzzle and trivia tasks during their kindergarten year. Children's emotion expression and task engagement were assessed based on their observed facial and verbal expressions and behavioral cues. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that observed persistence and shame predicted teacher ratings of children's academic achievement, whereas interest, anxiety, pride, shame, and persistence predicted children's social skills and learning-related behaviors. Children's emotional and behavioral responses to challenge thus appeared to be important indicators of school success. Observation of such responses may be a useful and valid alternative to self-report measures of motivation at this age.
Rationale: Disparities in pediatric asthma exist in that Latino children have higher prevalence and greater morbidity from asthma than non–Latino white children. The factors behind these disparities are poorly understood, but ethnic-related variations in children's ability to accurately recognize and report their pulmonary functioning may be a contributing process.
Objectives: To determine (1) if differences exist between Latino and non–Latino white children's perceptual accuracy and (2) whether these differences are related to asthma outcomes.
Methods: Five hundred and twelve children, aged 7–16 years (290 island Puerto Ricans, 115 Rhode Island Latinos, and 107 Rhode Island non-Latino white children) participated in a 5-week home-based protocol in which twice daily they entered subjective estimates of their peak expiratory flow rate into a hand-held, programmable spirometer and then performed spirometry. Their accuracy was summarized as three perceptual accuracy scores. Demographic data, asthma severity, intelligence, emotional expression, and general symptom-reporting tendencies were assessed and covaried in analyses of the relationship of perceptual accuracy to asthma morbidity and health care use.
Measurements and Main Results: Younger age, female sex, lower intelligence, and poverty were associated with lower pulmonary function perception scores. Island Puerto Rican children had the lowest accuracy and highest magnification scores, followed by Rhode Island Latinos; both differed significantly from non–Latino white children. Perceptual accuracy scores were associated with most indices of asthma morbidity.
Conclusions: Controlling for other predictive variables, ethnicity was related to pulmonary function perception ability, as Latino children were less accurate than non–Latino white children. This difference in perceptual ability may contribute to recognized asthma disparities.
childhood asthma; symptom recognition; disparities
To test a developmental model of neurobehavioral dysregulation relating prenatal substance exposure to behavior problems at age 7.
PATIENTS AND METHODS
The sample included 360 cocaine-exposed and 480 unexposed children from lower to lower middle class families of which 78% were African American. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to test models whereby prenatal exposure to cocaine and other substances would result in neurobehavioral dysregulation in infancy, which would predict externalizing and internalizing behavior problems in early childhood. SEM models were developed for individual and combined parent and teacher report for externalizing, internalizing, and total problem scores on the Child Behavior Checklist.
The Goodness of Fit Statistics indicated that all of the models met criteria for adequate fit with 7 of the 9 models explaining 18 to 60% of the variance in behavior problems at age 7. The paths in the models indicate that there are direct effects of prenatal substance exposure on 7-year behavior problems as well as indirect effects, including neurobehavioral dysregulation.
Prenatal substance exposure affects behavior problems at age 7 through two mechanisms. The direct pathway is consistent with a teratogenic effect. Indirect pathways suggest cascading effects where prenatal substance exposure results in neurobehavioral dysregulation manifesting as deviations in later behavioral expression. Developmental models provide an understanding of pathways that describe how prenatal substance exposure affects child outcome and have significant implications for early identification and prevention.
Prenatal substance exposure; cocaine; neurobehavioral dysregulation; behavior problems
This study investigated the potential long-term effects of cocaine exposure on brain functioning using fMRI in school-aged children. The sample included 12 children with prenatal cocaine exposure and 12 non-exposed children (8–9 years old). Groups did not differ on IQ, socioeconomic status, or perinatal risk factors. A response inhibition task was administered during an fMRI scan using a 1.5-T MRI system. Task performance did not differentiate groups, but groups were differentiated by patterns of task-related brain activity. Cocaine-exposed children showed greater activation in the right inferior frontal cortex and caudate during response inhibition, whereas non-exposed children showed greater activations in temporal and occipital regions. These preliminary findings suggest that prenatal cocaine may affect the development of brain systems involved in the regulation of attention and response inhibition.
Prenatal cocaine; Neuroimaging; Cognitive development; Inhibition
This study tested the differential effects of several cognitive and psychological variables on children's perception of asthma symptoms by use of an Asthma Risk Grid. Children's subjective and objective assessments of PEFR (peak expiratory flow rate) were characterized as representing perceptual accuracy, symptom magnification, and/or underestimation of asthma symptoms.
Two hundred and seventy children with asthma (ages 7-17) and their primary caregivers completed measures assessing cognitive and psychological factors and a 5-6 week symptom perception assessment.
Main Outcome Measures:
Children's symptom perception scores by use of the Asthma Risk Grid.
Children's attentional abilities had more of a bearing on their symptom monitoring abilities than their IQ estimates and psychological symptoms. The more time children took on Trails and Cancellation Tasks and the fewer errors they made on these tasks, the more likely they were to perceive their asthma symptoms accurately. More time on these tasks were associated with more symptom magnification scores, and fewer errors were related with fewer symptom magnification scores. More errors and higher total scores on the Continuous Performance Task were associated with a greater proportion of scores in the danger zone.
Statistical support was provided for the utility of attentional-based instruments for identifying children who may have problems with perceptual accuracy, and who are at risk for asthma morbidity.
Asthma; symptom perception; cognitive and psychological factors