Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Longitudinal child development research program - ALSPAC

While skimming a journal article that presented the results of a longitudinal investigation of the consequences of poor phonological awareness (Ga) abilities (at age 5 - follow-up at age 8), I discovered that the investigators were part of a larger systematic longitudinal child development research program that might be worth monitoring.

Below is a description from the The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) [also known as 'Children of the 90s'] web page. As stated on their page, ALSPAC is:
  • "aimed at identifying ways in which to optimise the health and development of children..Our main goal is to understand the ways in which the physical and social environment interact, over time, with the genetic inheritance to affect the child's health, behaviour and development."
A review of published/unpublished reports suggests that these have been a busy group of researchers.

With regard to the article mentioned above, the formal citation, followed by the abstract, is presented below:
  • Gathercole, S. E., Tiffany, C., Briscoe, J., & Thorn, A. (2005). Developmental consequences of poor phonological short-term memory function in childhood: a longitudinal study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 46(6), 598-611.
  • Background: A longitudinal study investigated the cognitive skills and scholastic attainments at 8 years of age of children selected on the basis of poor phonological loop skills at 5 years. Methods: Children with low and average performance at 5 years were tested three years later on measures of working memory, phonological awareness, vocabulary, language, reading, and number skill. Results: Two subgroups of children with poor early performance on phonological memory tests were identified. In one subgroup, the poor phonological memory skills persisted at 8 years. These children performed at comparable levels to the control group on measures of vocabulary, language and mathematics. They scored more poorly on literacy assessments, but this deficit was associated with group differences in complex memory span and phonological awareness performance. The second subgroup of children performed more highly on phonological memory tests at 8 years, but had enduring deficits in language assessments from 4 to 8 years. Conclusions: Persistently poor phonological memory skills do not appear to significantly constrain the acquisition of language, mathematics or number skills over the early school years. More general working memory skills do, however, appear to be crucial.

1 comment:

Vicente Fraher said...

Thanks!! I think Ill return in the near future