Mothers' knowledge of young child development in a developing country

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BackgroundAlthough interventions on child development target supporting mothers' relationships with their children, little is known about maternal knowledge of child development in developing countries. The purpose of this study was to determine maternal knowledge about child development in Turkey.MethodsThe Caregiver Knowledge of Child Development Inventory (CKCDI) developed for this study consisted of questions on when children begin to demonstrate developmental skills and when caregivers should provide opportunities for developmental stimulation.ResultsIn total, 1200 mothers of children aged ≤3 years chosen by random population-based sampling were administered the CKCDI in their homes. Of the 1055 mothers with complete data (88%), 64% had at most secondary school education and 11% were employed. The median CKCDI questionnaire score was 19 (highest possible score 40). Mothers believed that most developmental skills and activities should occur at later than normative ages and most mothers did not know that sight (52%), vocalization (79%), social smiling (59%) and overall brain development (68%) begins in the early months of life. In a linear regression model with CKCDI score as the dependent and age of child, number of children, maternal and paternal age and education as the independent variables, higher maternal education and lower number of children were found to be independent predictors of higher CKCDI scores (P < 0.001).ConclusionsThese results illustrate the degree to which caregivers from Turkey may be lacking information on early childhood development and that caregiver knowledge needs to be further investigated so that culture-specific and effective interventions can be planned.

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