Cognitive development of infants in institutional care settings, comparison with the low and high-SES family groups.

Ertekin, Zeynep
Kazak Berument, Sibel
Gunnar, Megan
Research findings have indicated that children who were reared in institutions (e.g. orphanages) increasingly lag behind in cognitive development the longer they are in institutional care (Colvert et al., 2008; Smyke et al., 2007). Most of the studies were carried out with the previously institutionalized children. However, there is less study of infant’s development who are currently residing in institutions. Therefore, the aim of the current study is to compare cognitive development of infants currently in institutional care with the infants reared by families in low and high socio-economic (SES) backgrounds. The moderation role of temperament will also be examined. A total of 182 infants (6 to 18 months) were recruited to the study (institutions= 72, high SES= 52, low SES= 58). Cognitive development of infants was measured by four different tasks: an attention task (Clearfield & Jedd,2013), a deferred imitation task (Goertz et al.,2011), an object permanence task (Moore & Meltzoff,2008) and an a-not-b task (Nampijja et al., 2012). Soothability (falling reactivity/recovery from distress sub-scale) was the aspect of temperament examined (IBQ: Gartstein & Rothbart,2003). According to ANOVA comparison, institutional infants had lower cognitive scores in all tasks compared to both family group. Moderation analyses were run with the process macro of Hayes. The interaction between care types and soothability was significant in predicting attentions scores. According to slope analyses, the effects of family groups were significant in the low (b=22.23, p<.001, 95% CI [12.03, 32.43]) and moderate (b=14.48, p<.01, 95% CI [7.57, 21.40]) levels of soothability, but not among the most soothable infants. Unexpectedly, it was the low SES infants who scored highest on attention at low (b=25.74, p<.001, 95% CI [14.22, 37.27]) and moderate (b=17.29, p<.01, 95% CI [8.77, 25.81]), but not high levels of soothability.
European Conference on Developmental Psychology


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Citation Formats
Z. Ertekin, S. Kazak Berument, and M. Gunnar, “Cognitive development of infants in institutional care settings, comparison with the low and high-SES family groups.,” presented at the European Conference on Developmental Psychology, Athens, GREECE, 2019, Accessed: 00, 2021. [Online]. Available: