The influence of early malnutrition on subsequent behavioural development. II: Classroom behaviour

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The classroom behaviours of 129 Barbadian children (77 boys ad 52 girls) ages 5 to 11 years, who had suffered from moderate to severe protein-energy malnutrition in the first year of life were compared with children with no history of malnutrition. Data were gathered from questionnaires administered to teachers who were unaware of the children's previous nutritional history. The results demonstrated that when compared to the matched sample of non-malnourished children, the previously malnourished children had attention deficits, reduced social skills, poorer physical appearance, and emotional instability. The behavioural deficits associated with prior malnutrition were independent of IQ and were experienced to a greater extent by boys. Socio-economic conditions at the time of the study contributed little to the behavioural deficits of the previously malnourished children, as compared with the large contribution of the history of early malnutrition or the conditions producing it


Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New York, 19-23 Mar., 1982

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