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More than a snapshot in time: pathways of disadvantage over childhood

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journal contribution
posted on 08.01.2019, 11:47 by Sharon Goldfeld, Meredith O'Connor, Elodie O'Connor, Shiau Chong, Hannah Badland, Sue Woolfenden, Gerry Redmond, Katrina Williams, Fran AzpitarteFran Azpitarte, Dan Cloney, Fiona Mensah
Background Disadvantage rarely manifests as a single event, but rather is the enduring context in which a child’s development unfolds. We aimed to characterize patterns of stability and change in multiple aspects of disadvantage over the childhood period, in order to inform more precise and nuanced policy development. Methods Participants were from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children birth cohort (n = 5107). Four lenses of disadvantage (sociodemographic, geographic environment, health conditions and risk factors), and a composite of these representing average exposure across all lenses, were assessed longitudinally from 0 to 9 years of age. Trajectory models identified groups of children with similar patterns of disadvantage over time for each of these lenses and for composite disadvantage. Concurrent validity of these trajectory groups was examined through associations with academic performance at 10–11 years. Results We found four distinct trajectories of children’s exposure to composite disadvantage, which showed high levels of stability over time. In regard to the individual lenses of disadvantage, three exhibited notable change over time (the sociodemographic lens was the exception). Over a third of children (36.3%) were exposed to the ‘most disadvantaged’ trajectory in at least one lens. Trajectories of disadvantage were associated with academic performance, providing evidence of concurrent validity. Conclusions Children’s overall level of composite disadvantage was stable over time, whereas geographic environments, health conditions and risk factors changed over time for some children. Measuring disadvantage as uni-dimensional, at a single time point, is likely to understate the true extent and persistence of disadvantage.

Funding

This research is funded by Australian Research Council Discovery Grant DP160101735, and was supported by the Victorian Government’s Operational Infrastructure Support Program. S.G. is supported by Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Career Development Fellowship 1082922, and F.M. is supported by NHMRC Career Development Fellowship 1111160. H.B. is supported by an RMIT University VC Senior Research Fellowship.

History

School

  • Social Sciences

Department

  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies

Published in

International Journal of Epidemiology

Volume

47

Issue

4

Pages

1307 - 1316

Citation

GOLDFIELD, S. ... et al., 2018. More than a snapshot in time: pathways of disadvantage over childhood. International Journal of Epidemiology, 47(4), pp. 1307-1316.

Publisher

© The Authors. Published by the Oxford University Press (OUP) on behalf of the International Epidemiological Association

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date

2018-06-05

Notes

This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in International Journal of Epidemiology following peer review. The version of record GOLDFIELD, S. ... et al., 2018. More than a snapshot in time: pathways of disadvantage over childhood. International Journal of Epidemiology, 47(4), pp. 1307-1316. is available online at: https://doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyy086

ISSN

0300-5771

eISSN

1464-3685

Language

en