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Parenting Practices and Associations with Development Delays among Young Children in Dominican Republic


Omolara Thomas Uwemedimo ,

Department of Pediatrics, Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell; GLOhBAL (Global Learning. Optimizing health. Building Alliances Locally) Program, Division of General Pediatrics, Cohen Children's Medical Center, New Hyde Park, NY
About Omolara Thomas
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Afrin Howlader,

IPRO, Lake Success, NY
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Giselina Pierret

Francisco Gonzalvo Hospital, La Romana, Dominican Republic
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According to the World Health Organization, >200 million children in low- and middle-income countries experience developmental delays. However, household structure and parenting practices have been minimally explored as potential correlates of developmental delay in low- and middle-income countries, despite potential as areas for intervention.


The objective of the study was to examine associations of developmental delays with use of World Health Organization–recommended parenting practices among a clinic-based cohort of children aged 6-60 months attending in La Romana, Dominican Republic.


This study was conducted among 74 caregiver-child pairs attending the growth-monitoring clinic at Hospital Francisco Gonzalvo in June 2015. The Malawi Developmental Assessment Tool was adapted and performed on each child to assess socioadaptive, fine motor, gross motor, and language development. The IMCI Household Level Survey Questionnaire was used to assess parenting practices. Fisher's exact test was used to determine associations significant at P < .05. Significant variables were then entered into a multivariable logistic regression.


Almost two-thirds of children had a delay in at least 1 developmental domain. Most caregivers used scolding (43.2%) or spanking (44%) for child discipline. Children who were disciplined by spanking and scolding were more likely to have language delay (P = .007) and socioadaptive delay (P = .077), respectively. On regression analysis, children with younger primary caregivers had 7 times higher odds of language delay (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]: 7.35, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.52-35.61) and 4 times greater odds of any delay (AOR: 4.72, 95% CI: 1.01-22.22). In addition, children punished by spanking had 5 times higher odds of having language delay (AOR: 5.04, 95% CI: 1.13-22.39).


Parenting practices such as harsh punishment and lack of positive parental reinforcement were found to have strong associations with language and socioadaptive delays. Likewise, delays were also more common among children with younger caregivers.
How to Cite: Uwemedimo, O.T., Howlader, A. and Pierret, G., 2017. Parenting Practices and Associations with Development Delays among Young Children in Dominican Republic. Annals of Global Health, 83(3-4), pp.568–576. DOI:
Published on 10 Nov 2017.
Peer Reviewed


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