Walker, S. P. ; Chang, S. M. ; Powell, C. A. ; Simonoff, E. ; Grantham-McGregor, S. M.
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Effects of psychosocial stimulation and dietary supplementation in early childhood on psychosocial functioning in late adolescence: follow-up of randomised controlled trial
British Medical Journal
Date of Publication
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether dietary supplementation or psychosocial stimulation given to growth retarded (stunted) children age 9-24 months has long term benefits for their psychosocial functioning in late adolescence. DESIGN: Sixteen year follow-up study of a randomised controlled trial. SETTING: Poor neighbourhoods in Kingston, Jamaica. PARTICIPANTS: Of 129 stunted children identified at age 9-24 months, 103 adolescents aged 17-18 were followed up. INTERVENTION: Supplementation with 1 kg milk based formula each week or psychosocial stimulation (weekly play sessions with mother and child), or both, for two years. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Anxiety, depression, self esteem, and antisocial behaviour assessed by questionnaires administered by interviewers; attention deficit, hyperactivity, and oppositional behaviour assessed by interviews with parents. RESULTS: Primary analysis indicated that participants who received stimulation had significantly different overall scores from those who did not (F = 2.047, P = 0.049). Supplementation had no significant effect (F = 1.505, P = 0.17). Participants who received stimulation reported less anxiety (mean difference - 2.81, 95% confidence interval - 5.02 to - 0.61), less depression (- 0.43, - 0.78 to - 0.07), and higher self esteem (1.55, 0.08 to 3.02) and parents reported fewer attention problems (- 3.34, - 6.48 to - 0.19). These differences are equivalent to effect sizes of 0.40-0.49 standard deviations. CONCLUSIONS: Stimulation in early childhood has sustained benefits to stunted children's emotional outcomes and attention.....