Chapter

The Nature and Impact of Risk and Protective Influences on Children’s Development in Low-Income Countries

Theodore D. Wachs and Atif Rahman

in Handbook of Early Childhood Development Research and Its Impact on Global Policy

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199922994
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199980420 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199922994.003.0005
The Nature and Impact of Risk and Protective Influences on Children’s Development in Low-Income Countries

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Over 200 million children from low- and middle-income (LAMI) countries show compromised neural, cognitive, and social-emotional functioning due to exposure to preventable developmental risks. Understanding how exposure to developmental risks adversely influences child functioning is complex. The impact of developmental risks varies, depending upon many factors, including the extent and type of protective influences children encounter. Because risk factors often cluster, children living in poverty have particularly high exposure to cumulative bioecological and psychosocial developmental risks. This has clear evidence-based implications for intervention programs to promote the development of such children, including starting interventions early in life; designing integrated bioecological and psychosocial interventions; targeting specific risks that increase the likelihood of exposure to additional risks (maternal depression); promoting exposure to specific protective influences that increase the likelihood of exposure to additional protective influences (maternal education); and identifying societal, community, and individual characteristics that can weaken the impact of interventions.

Keywords: early child development; cumulative risk; protective influences; low-income countries; sensitive periods; maternal education; maternal depression; risk covariance; context; intervention

Chapter.  15546 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Developmental Psychology

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