Archive | February, 2016

American Educational Research Association study: Science achievement gaps begin by kindergarten

24 Feb

Many educators have long recognized that the impact of social class affects both education achievement and life chances after completion of education. There are two impacts from diversity, one is to broaden the life experience of the privileged and to raise the expectations of the disadvantaged. Social class matters in not only other societies, but this one as well.

A few years back, the New York Times did a series about social class in America. That series is still relevant. Janny Scott and David Leonhardt’s overview, Shadowy Lines That Still Divide http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/15/us/class/shadowy-lines-that-still-divide.html    describes the challenges faced by schools trying to overcome the disparity in education. The complete series can be found at Social Class   http://www.nytimes.com/pages/national/class/index.html

Science Daily reported in Science achievement gaps begin by kindergarten:

Large science achievement gaps at the end of eighth grade between white and racial/ethnic minority children and between children from higher- and lower-income families are rooted in large yet modifiable general knowledge gaps already present by the time children enter kindergarten, according to new research published today in Educational Researcher, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association.

Analyzing data from the National Center for Education Statistics on over 7,750 children from kindergarten entry to the end of eighth grade, a team of researchers-Paul L. Morgan (Pennsylvania State University), George Farkas (University of California, Irvine), Marianne M. Hillemeier (Pennsylvania State University), and Steve Maczuga (Pennsylvania State University) — found that kindergarten children’s general knowledge about the world was the strongest predictor of their general knowledge in first grade, which in turn was the strongest predictor of their science achievement in third grade. Children’s science achievement gaps were then fairly stable from third through eighth grade.

Mathematics and reading achievement were associated with science achievement during third to eighth grades, suggesting that increasing math and reading skills for lower performing children may help to address science achievement gaps. The findings are consistent with prior research showing that the level of children’s achievement in reading or mathematics by kindergarten is strongly predictive of their achievement throughout elementary school, and that achievement gaps begin very early.

“If you enter kindergarten with very little knowledge about the natural and social world, you are likely to be struggling in science by third grade, and you are then likely to still be struggling in science by eighth grade,” said Paul L. Morgan, an associate professor of education policy studies at Pennsylvania State University.

Among children entering kindergarten with low levels of general knowledge, 62 percent and 54 percent were struggling in science in third and eighth grade, respectively.

General knowledge gaps between racial/ethnic minority and white children were already large at kindergarten entry. For example, 58 percent, 41 percent, and 52 percent of black, Hispanic, and American Indian children had general knowledge scores in the bottom 25 percent at kindergarten entry. The contrasting percentage for white children was only 15 percent. About 65 percent of low-income children entered kindergarten with low levels of general knowledge. Only 10 percent of high-income children did so….                                                                                                 https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160223132721.htm

Citation:

Science achievement gaps begin by kindergarten

Date:     February 23, 2016

Source:   American Educational Research Association

Summary:

Large science achievement gaps at the end of eighth grade between white and racial/ethnic minority children and between children from higher-and lower-income families are rooted in large yet modifiable general knowledge gaps already present by the time children enter kindergarten, according to new research.

Journal Reference:

  1. P. L. Morgan, G. Farkas, M. M. Hillemeier, S. Maczuga. Science Achievement Gaps Begin Very Early, Persist, and Are Largely Explained by Modifiable Factors. Educational Researcher, 2016; 45 (1): 18 DOI: 10.3102/0013189X16633182

Here is the press release from AERA:

 Science Achievement Gaps Begin by Kindergarten

For Immediate Release
February 23, 2016

Contact:
Tony Pals, tpals@aera.net
(202) 238-3235, (202) 288-9333 (cell)

Victoria Oms, voms@aera.net
(202) 238-3233

Science Achievement Gaps Begin by Kindergarten

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 23—Large science achievement gaps at the end of eighth grade between white and racial/ethnic minority children and between children from higher- and lower-income families are rooted in large yet modifiable general knowledge gaps already present by thetime children enter kindergarten, according to new research published today in Educational Researcher, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association.

Analyzing data from the National Center for Education Statistics on over 7,750 children from kindergarten entry to the end of eighth grade, a team of researchers—Paul L. Morgan (Pennsylvania State University), George Farkas (University of California, Irvine), Marianne M. Hillemeier (Pennsylvania State University), and Steve Maczuga (Pennsylvania State University)—found that kindergarten children’s general knowledge about the world was the strongest predictor of their general knowledge in first grade, which in turn was the strongest predictor of their science achievement in third grade. Children’s science achievement gaps were then fairly stable from third through eighth grade.

Mathematics and reading achievement were associated with science achievement during third to eighth grades, suggesting that increasing math and reading skills for lower performing children may help to address science achievement gaps. The findings are consistent with prior research showing that the level of children’s achievement in reading or mathematics by kindergarten is strongly predictive of their achievement throughout elementary school, and that achievement gaps begin very early.

“If you enter kindergarten with very little knowledge about the natural and social world, you are likely to be struggling in science by third grade, and you are then likely to still be struggling in science by eighth grade,” said Paul L. Morgan, an associate professor of education policy studies at Pennsylvania State University.

Among children entering kindergarten with low levels of general knowledge, 62 percent and 54 percent were struggling in science in third and eighth grade, respectively.

General knowledge gaps between racial/ethnic minority and white children were already large at kindergarten entry. For example, 58 percent, 41 percent, and 52 percent of black, Hispanic, and American Indian children had general knowledge scores in the bottom 25 percent at kindergarten entry. The contrasting percentage for white children was only 15 percent. About 65 percent of low-income children entered kindergarten with low levels of general knowledge. Only 10 percent of high-income children did so.

“We were dismayed by how early the gaps emerged,” said Morgan. “However, the gaps were also largely explained by modifiable factors, including those that can be addressed by policymakers. Our findings argue for the importance of intervening early, particularly for children who may be at risk because of fewer opportunities to informally learn about science prior to beginning elementary school.”

The researchers noted that children from traditionally marginalized groups have lower access to high-quality childcare and preschools, a circumstance that limits their learning opportunities prior to entering kindergarten. Income inequality and racial segregation in schools then perpetuate the disparities in learning opportunities and contribute to science achievement gaps throughout the elementary and middle grades.

“Science achievement gaps are themselves mostly explained by underlying inequities that we, as a society, too often tolerate or simply decide not to fully address,” Morgan said.

The findings suggest that, for the United States to retain its long-term scientific and economic competitiveness, policymakers should redouble efforts to ensure access to high-quality early learning experiences in childcare settings, preschools, and elementary schools, particularly for children who are at risk. According to a 2010 National Academies report, low levels of science achievement in the United States are no longer a “gathering storm” but now are “rapidly approaching a Category 5” in their potential to derail the nation’s long-term global competitiveness. Waiting to address science achievement gaps by middle or high school may be waiting too late.

At the family level, Morgan said that regularly talking and interacting with very young children, pointing out and conversing about physical, natural, and social events that are occurring around them, and supportively extending their general knowledge about the world may be ways that parents can help their children learn the facts and concepts that will prepare them to take full advantage of the science instruction they receive during elementary and middle school.

To read the full study, click HERE. To speak with study author Paul L. Morgan, please contact Tony Pals at tpals@aera.net or Victoria Oms at voms@aera.net.

Funding Note
Funding for this study was provided by the National Center for Special Education Research, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.

About AERA
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) is the largest national interdisciplinary research association devoted to the scientific study of education and learning. Founded in 1916, AERA advances knowledge about education, encourages scholarly inquiry related to education, and promotes the use of research to improve education and serve the public good. Find AERA on Facebook and Twitter.

People tend to cluster in neighborhoods based upon class as much as race. Good teachers tend to gravitate toward neighborhoods where they are paid well and students come from families who mirror their personal backgrounds and values. Good teachers make a difference in a child’s life. One of the difficulties in busing to achieve equity in education is that neighborhoods tend to be segregated by class as well as race. People often make sacrifices to move into neighborhoods they perceive mirror their values. That is why there must be good schools in all segments of the country and there must be good schools in all parts of this society. A good education should not depend upon one’s class or status.

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University of Louisville study: Oral bacteria linked to risk of stroke

21 Feb

The Center for Dentistry lists the reasons that dental exams are important:
5 Major Health Threats That Your Dentist Can Predict

#1: Obesity
An increase in cavities could mean you’re eating too many unhealthy foods, which also puts you at risk for obesity. A dentist who knows your medical history may ask about your eating habits, but you should feel free to ask if what’s happening to your teeth might be a sign of other problems.

#2: Cardiovascular disease
It’s also possible for cavities themselves to threaten your heart, if the bacteria that produce them find their way into your cardiovascular system. Bacteria associated with tooth and gum disease may also be involved in stroke, diabetes, and respiratory problems—so brush and floss every day.

#3: Diabetes
The fermentable carbohydrates in sugary drinks and snacks loaded with carbs increase your blood sugar level drastically, raising the risk of type 2 diabetes.

#4: Cancer
Not only does a tooth-unhealthy diet put you at risk for obesity, which is a risk factor for certain cancers, harmful lifestyle habits like smoking can produce tooth discoloration and periodontal destruction. Abnormalities in your mouth, including bleeding gums and cavities, should be a natural alarm bell.

#5: Alzheimer’s disease
People who lost most of their teeth were more likely to develop dementia problems, such as Alzheimer’s disease, later on. It will take more research to clarify what the connection between tooth loss and brain health may be. But is seems that keeping your teeth as healthy possible has benefits that go far beyond your mouth. http://www.centerfordentistry.com/Blog/EntryId/1/Predicting-Health-Threats-through-Dental-Exams.aspx

A University of Louisville study found that there is a link between oral bacteria and stroke risk.

Science Daily reported in Oral bacteria linked to risk of stroke:

In a study of patients entering the hospital for acute stroke, researchers have increased their understanding of an association between certain types of stroke and the presence of the oral bacteria (cnm-positive Streptococcus mutans). Robert P. Friedland, M.D., the Mason C. and Mary D. Rudd Endowed Chair and Professor in Neurology at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, was a co-author of the study, published online this month in Scientific Reports, a journal of the Nature Publishing Group.

In the single hospital study, researchers at the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center in Osaka, Japan, observed stroke patients to gain a better understanding of the relationship between hemorrhagic stroke and oral bacteria. Among the patients who experienced intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), 26 percent were found to have a specific bacterium in their saliva, cnm-positive S. mutans. Among patients with other types of stroke, only 6 percent tested positive for the bacterium.

Strokes are characterized as either ischemic strokes, which involve a blockage of one or more blood vessels supplying the brain, or hemorrhagic strokes, in which blood vessels in the brain rupture, causing bleeding.

The researchers also evaluated MRIs of study subjects for the presence of cerebral microbleeds (CMB), small brain hemorrhages which may cause dementia and also often underlie ICH. They found that the number of CMBs was significantly higher in subjects with cnm-positive S. mutans than in those without.

The authors hypothesize that the S. mutans bacteria may bind to blood vessels weakened by age and high blood pressure, causing arterial ruptures in the brain, leading to small or large hemorrhages.

“This study shows that oral health is important for brain health. People need to take care of their teeth because it is good for their brain and their heart as well as their teeth,” Friedland said. “The study and related work in our labs have shown that oral bacteria are involved in several kinds of stroke, including brain hemorrhages and strokes that lead to dementia….” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160216181715.htm

Citation:

Oral bacteria linked to risk of stroke
Brain researchers demonstrate the importance of oral health in stroke
Date: February 16, 2016
Source: University of Louisville
Summary:
In a study of patients entering the hospital for acute stroke, researchers have increased their understanding of an association between certain types of stroke and the presence of the oral bacteria (cnm-positive Streptococcus mutans).

Journal Reference:
1. Shuichi Tonomura, Masafumi Ihara, Tomohiro Kawano, Tomotaka Tanaka, Yoshinori Okuno, Satoshi Saito, Robert P. Friedland, Nagato Kuriyama, Ryota Nomura, Yoshiyuki Watanabe, Kazuhiko Nakano, Kazunori Toyoda, Kazuyuki Nagatsuka. Intracerebral hemorrhage and deep microbleeds associated with cnm-positive Streptococcus mutans; a hospital cohort study. Scientific Reports, 2016; 6: 20074 DOI: 10.1038/srep20074

Here is the press release from the University of Louisville:

Oral bacteria linked to risk of stroke

by Betty Coffman, HSC communications and marketing — last modified Feb 16, 2016 11:37 AM

In a study of patients entering the hospital for acute stroke, researchers have increased their understanding of an association between certain types of stroke and the presence of the oral bacteria (cnm-positive Streptococcus mutans).

Robert P. Friedland, M.D., the Mason C. and Mary D. Rudd Endowed Chair and Professor in Neurology at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, was a co-author of the study, published online this month in Scientific Reports, a journal of the Nature Publishing Group.
In the single hospital study, researchers at the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center in Osaka, Japan, observed stroke patients to gain a better understanding of the relationship between hemorrhagic stroke and oral bacteria. Among the patients who experienced intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), 26 percent were found to have a specific bacterium in their saliva, cnm-positive S. mutans. Among patients with other types of stroke, only 6 percent tested positive for the bacterium.

Strokes are characterized as either ischemic strokes, which involve a blockage of one or more blood vessels supplying the brain, or hemorrhagic strokes, in which blood vessels in the brain rupture, causing bleeding.

The researchers also evaluated MRIs of study subjects for the presence of cerebral microbleeds (CMB), small brain hemorrhages which may cause dementia and also often underlie ICH. They found that the number of CMBs was significantly higher in subjects with cnm-positive S. mutans than in those without.

The authors hypothesize that the S. mutans bacteria may bind to blood vessels weakened by age and high blood pressure, causing arterial ruptures in the brain, leading to small or large hemorrhages.

“This study shows that oral health is important for brain health. People need to take care of their teeth because it is good for their brain and their heart as well as their teeth,” Friedland said. “The study and related work in our labs have shown that oral bacteria are involved in several kinds of stroke, including brain hemorrhages and strokes that lead to dementia.”

Multiple research studies have shown a close association between the presence of gum disease and heart disease, and a 2013 publication by Jan Potempa, Ph.D., D.Sc., of the UofL School of Dentistry, revealed how the bacterium responsible for gum disease worsens rheumatoid arthritis.

The cnm-negative S. mutans bacteria is found in approximately 10 percent of the general population, Friedland says, and is known to cause dental cavities (tooth decay). Friedland also is researching the role of oral bacteria in other diseases affecting the brain.
“We are investigating the role of oral and gut bacteria in the initiation of pathology in the neurodegenerative disorders Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s with collaborators in the United Kingdom and Japan.”
http://louisville.edu/uofltoday/campus-news/oral-bacteria-linked-to-risk-of-stroke

The American Dental Association not only provides information about dental care, but advocates for the inclusion of dental care in medical plans.

According to the American Dental Association:

Why Oral Health Matters

Numerous recent scientific studies indicate associations between oral health and a variety of general health conditions — including diabetes and heart disease. In response, the World Health Organization has integrated oral health into its chronic disease prevention efforts “as the risks to health are linked.”

The American Dental Association recommends that dental visits begin no later than a child’s first birthday to establish a “dental home.” Dentists can provide guidance to children and parents, deliver preventive oral health services, and diagnose and treat dental disease in its earliest stages. This ongoing dental care will help both children and adults maintain optimal oral health throughout their lifetimes.

Dentists’ areas of care include not only their patients’ teeth and gums but also the muscles of the head, neck and jaw, the tongue, salivary glands, the nervous system of the head and neck and other areas.

Improving the Nation’s Oral Health

Despite all we know about the importance of oral health to overall health, to people’s self-esteem and to their employability, state and federal policies continually sell dental care short.

• Most states spend 2 percent or less of their Medicaid budgets on dental services.
• An estimated 164 million work hours are lost each year due to oral disease.

The American Dental Association is committed to improving the nation’s oral health through public education and through legislative advocacy to strengthen funding for dental services provided through public health programs…. http://www.ada.org/en/about-the-ada/dentists-doctors-of-oral-health

The goal of comprehensive medical plans should be to include dental and vision coverage.

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Columbia University study: Marijuana smokers 5 times more likely to develop an alcohol problem

18 Feb

Often children who evidence signs of a substance abuse problem come from homes where there is a substance abuse problem. That problem may be generational. eMedicineHealth lists some of the causes of substance abuse:

Substance Abuse Causes

Use and abuse of substances such as cigarettes, alcohol, and illegal drugs may begin in childhood or the teen years. Certain risk factors may increase someone’s likelihood to abuse substances.
Factors within a family that influence a child’s early development have been shown to be related to increased risk of drug abuse.
o Chaotic home environment
o Ineffective parenting
o Lack of nurturing and parental attachment
Factors related to a child’s socialization outside the family may also increase risk of drug abuse.
o Inappropriately aggressive or shy behavior in the classroom
o Poor social coping skills
o Poor school performance
o Association with a deviant peer group
o Perception of approval of drug use behavior
http://www.emedicinehealth.com/substance_abuse/article_em.htm

Substance abuse is often a manifestation of other problems that child has either at home or poor social relations including low self-esteem. Dr. Alan Leshner summarizes the reasons children use drugs in why do Sally and Johnny use drugs? http://archives.drugabuse.gov/Published_Articles/Sally.html

Science Daily reported in Marijuana smokers 5 times more likely to develop an alcohol problem:

Adults who use marijuana are five times more likely to develop an alcohol use disorder (AUD) –alcohol abuse or dependence– compared with adults who do not use the drug. And adults who already have an alcohol use disorder and use marijuana are more likely to see the problem persist. Results of a study by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the City University of New York appear online in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

“Our results suggest that cannabis use appears to be associated with an increased vulnerability to developing an alcohol use disorder, even among those without any history of this,” said Renee Goodwin, PhD, associate professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health. “Marijuana use also appears to increase the likelihood that an existing alcohol use disorder will continue over time.”

The researchers analyzed data from 27,461 adults enrolled in the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions who first used marijuana at a time when they had no lifetime history of alcohol use disorders. The population was assessed at two time points. Adults who had used marijuana at the first assessment and again over the following three years (23 percent) were five times more likely to develop an alcohol use problem, compared with those who had not used marijuana (5 percent). Adult problem drinkers who did not use cannabis were significantly more likely to be in recovery from alcohol use disorders three years later….. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160217112847.htm

Citation:

Marijuana smokers 5 times more likely to develop an alcohol problem

Date: February 17, 2016

Source: Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health

Summary:
Adults who use marijuana are five times more likely to develop an alcohol use disorder (AUD) — alcohol abuse or dependence — compared with adults who do not use the drug. And adults who already have an alcohol use disorder and use marijuana are more likely to see the problem persist.

Journal Reference:
1. Andrea H. Weinberger, Jonathan Platt, Renee D. Goodwin. Is cannabis use associated with an increased risk of onset and persistence of alcohol use disorders? A three-year prospective study among adults in the United States. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 2016; DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2016.01.014

Here is the press release from the Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health:

Chronic Disease, Community Health

Feb. 17 2016

Marijuana Smokers Five Times More Likely to Develop an Alcohol Problem

Adults who use marijuana are five times more likely to develop an alcohol use disorder (AUD) —alcohol abuse or dependence— compared with adults who do not use the drug. And adults who already have an alcohol use disorder and use marijuana are more likely to see the problem persist. Results of a study by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the City University of New York appear online in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

“Our results suggest that cannabis use appears to be associated with an increased vulnerability to developing an alcohol use disorder, even among those without any history of this,” said Renee Goodwin, PhD, associate professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health. “Marijuana use also appears to increase the likelihood that an existing alcohol use disorder will continue over time.”

The researchers analyzed data from 27,461 adults enrolled in the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions who first used marijuana at a time when they had no lifetime history of alcohol use disorders. The population was assessed at two time points. Adults who had used marijuana at the first assessment and again over the following three years (23 percent) were five times more likely to develop an alcohol use problem, compared with those who had not used marijuana (5 percent). Adult problem drinkers who did not use cannabis were significantly more likely to be in recovery from alcohol use disorders three years later.

“From a public health standpoint we recommend that further research be conducted to understand the pathways underlying these relationships as well as the degree to which various potentially vulnerable population subgroups — youth, for example — are at increased risk,” noted Goodwin. “If future research confirms these findings, investigating whether preventing or delaying first use of marijuana might reduce the risk of developing alcohol use disorders among some segments of the population may be worthwhile.”
Co-authors are Andrea Weinberger, Yeshiva University and Yale University School of Medicine; and Jonathan Platt, Mailman School of Public Health.

The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Drug Abuse (grant R01-DA20892). https://www.mailman.columbia.edu/public-health-now/news/marijuana-smokers-five-times-more-likely-develop-alcohol-problem#sthash.PuhZAXLD.dpuf

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has a series of questions parents should ask http://www.getsmartaboutdrugs.com/content/default.aspx?pud=a8bcb6ee-523a-4909-9d76-928d956f3f91

If you suspect that your child has a substance abuse problem, you will have to seek help of some type. You will need a plan of action. The Partnership for a Drug Free America lists 7 Steps to Take and each step is explained at the site. http://www.drugfree.org/intervene
If your child has a substance abuse problem, both you and your child will need help. “One day at a time” is a famous recovery affirmation which you and your child will live the meaning. The road to recovery may be long or short, it will have twists and turns with one step forward and two steps back. In order to reach the goal of recovery, both parent and child must persevere.

Related:

University of Washington study: Heroin use among young suburban and rural non-traditional users on the
https://drwilda.com/2013/10/13/university-of-washington-study-heroin-use-among-young-suburban-and-rural-non-traditional-users-on-the-increase/

Resources

Adolescent Substance Abuse Knowledge Base
http://www.crchealth.com/troubled-teenagers/teenage-substance-abuse/adolescent-substance-abuse/signs-drug-use/

Warning Signs of Teen Drug Abuse
http://parentingteens.about.com/cs/drugsofabuse/a/driug_abuse20.htm?r=et

Is Your Teen Using?
http://www.drugfree.org/intervene

Al-Anon and Alateen
http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/

WEBMD: Parenting and Teen Substance Abuse
http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/tc/teen-substance-abuse-choosing-a-treatment-program-topic-overview

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a very good booklet for families What is Substance Abuse Treatment?
http://store.samhsa.gov/home

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has a web site for teens and parents that teaches about drug abuse NIDA for Teens: The Science Behind Drug Abuse
http://teens.drugabuse.gov/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

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Drexel University School of Public Health study: Parental depression associated with worse school performance by children

7 Feb

Moi said in Schools have to deal with depressed and troubled children:
Both the culture and the economy are experiencing turmoil. For some communities, the unsettled environment is a new phenomenon, for other communities, children have been stressed for generations. According to the article, Understanding Depression which was posted at the Kids Health site:

Depression is the most common mental health problem in the United States. Each year it affects 17 million people of all age groups, races, and economic backgrounds.
As many as 1 in every 33 children may have depression; in teens, that number may be as high as 1 in 8. http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/feelings/understanding_depression.html

Schools are developing strategies to deal with troubled kids.

Andrew M. Seaman of Reuters reported in Parents’ depression may affect kids’ school performance:

Children perform worse in school when their parents are diagnosed with depression, suggests a study from Sweden.

The study found a significant negative link between parents’ depression and kids’ school performance, said senior author Brian Lee, of the Drexel University School of Public Health in Philadelphia.

“We obviously know that depression is a bad thing like any other mental health outcome,” Lee said. “It’s less recognized that mental health outcomes affect other people than the people themselves. So for parents or guardians, a vulnerable population would be their children.”

Previous studies found children with depressed parents are more likely to have problems with brain development, behavior and emotions, along with other psychiatric problems, Lee and his colleagues write in JAMA Psychiatry. Few studies have looked at school performance, however.

For the new study, they used data from more than 1.1 million children born in Sweden between 1984 and 1994.

Three percent of the mothers and about 2 percent of fathers were diagnosed with depression before their children finished their last required year of school, which occurs around age 16 in Sweden.

Overall, when parents were diagnosed with depression during their children’s lifetime, the kids’ grades suffered. A mother’s depression appeared to affect daughters more than sons, they note.

Lee characterized the link between parental depression and children’s school performance as “moderate.”

On the range of factors that influence a child’s school performance, Lee said parental depression falls between a family’s economic status and parental education, which is one of the biggest factors in determining a child’s success in school.

The researchers caution that depression may have been undermeasured in the population. Also, they can’t say that a parent’s depression actually causes children to perform worse in school…. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-school-depression-parents-idUSKCN0VC2VS

Citation:

Parental depression associated with worse school performance by children

Date:      February 3, 2016

Source:   The JAMA Network Journals

Summary:

Having parents diagnosed with depression during a child’s life was associated with worse school performance at age 16 a new study of children born in Sweden reports.

Journal References:

  1. Hanyang Shen, Cecilia Magnusson, Dheeraj Rai, Michael Lundberg, Félice Lê-Scherban, Christina Dalman, Brian K. Lee. Associations of Parental Depression With Child School Performance at Age 16 Years in Sweden. JAMA Psychiatry, 2016; DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.2917
  2. Myrna M. Weissman. Children of Depressed Parents—A Public Health Opportunity. JAMA Psychiatry, 2016; DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.2967

Associations of Parental Depression With Child School Performance at Age 16 Years in Sweden ONLINE FIRST

Hanyang Shen, MPH, MSc1; Cecilia Magnusson, MD, PhD2,3; Dheeraj Rai, MRCPsych, PhD4,5; Michael Lundberg, MPH2,3; Félice Lê-Scherban, PhD1; Christina Dalman, MD, PhD2,3; Brian K. Lee, PhD, MHS1,6

[+] Author Affiliations

JAMA Psychiatry. Published online February 03, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.2917

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ABSTRACT

ABSTRACT | INTRODUCTION | METHODS | RESULTS | DISCUSSION | CONCLUSIONS | ARTICLE INFORMATION | REFERENCES

Importance  Depression is a common cause of morbidity and disability worldwide. Parental depression is associated with early-life child neurodevelopmental, behavioral, emotional, mental, and social problems. More studies are needed to explore the link between parental depression and long-term child outcomes.

Objective  To examine the associations of parental depression with child school performance at the end of compulsory education (approximately age 16 years).

Design, Setting, and Participants  Parental depression diagnoses (based on the International Classification of Diseases, Eighth Revision [ICD-8], International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision [ICD-9], and the International Statistical Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision [ICD-10]) in inpatient records from 1969 onward, outpatient records beginning in 2001, and school grades at the end of compulsory education were collected for all children born from 1984 to 1994 in Sweden. The final analytic sample size was 1 124 162 biological children. We examined the associations of parental depression during different periods (before birth, after birth, and during child ages 1-5, 6-10, and 11-16 years, as well as any time before the child’s final year of compulsory schooling) with the final school grades. Linear regression models adjusted for various child and parent characteristics. The dates of the analysis were January to November 2015.

Main Outcome and Measure  Decile of school grades at the end of compulsory education (range, 1-10, with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest).

Results  The study cohort comprised 1 124 162 children, of whom 48.9% were female. Maternal depression and paternal depression at any time before the final compulsory school year were associated with worse school performance. After covariate adjustment, these associations decreased to −0.45 (95% CI, −0.48 to −0.42) and −0.40 (−0.43 to −0.37) lower deciles, respectively. These effect sizes are similarly as large as the observed difference in school performance between the lowest and highest quintiles of family income but approximately one-third of the observed difference between maternal education of 9 or less vs more than 12 years. Both maternal depression and paternal depression at different periods (before birth, after birth, and during child ages 1-5, 6-10, and 11-16 years) generally were associated with worse school performance. Child sex modified the associations of maternal depression with school performance such that maternal depression had a larger negative influence on child school performance for girls compared with boys.

Conclusions and Relevance  Diagnoses of parental depression throughout a child’s life were associated with worse school performance at age 16 years. Our results suggest that diagnoses of parental depression may have a far-reaching effect on an important aspect of child development, with implications for future life course outcomes.                                                                                     http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2488039

Here is the press release from Drexel University:

Parental Depression Negatively Affects Children’s School Performance

February 03 2016

A new study has found that when parents are diagnosed with depression, it can have a significant negative impact on their children’s performance at school.

Researchers at Drexel University led a team including faculty from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, and the University of Bristol in England in a cohort study of more than a million children born from 1984 until 1994 in Sweden. Using computerized data registers, the scientists linked parents’ depression diagnoses with their children’s final grades at age 16, when compulsory schooling ends in Sweden.

The research indicated that children whose mothers had been diagnosed with depression are likely to achieve grades that are 4.5 percentage points lower than peers whose mothers had not been diagnosed with depression. For children whose fathers were diagnosed with depression, the difference is a negative four percentage points.

Put into other terms, when compared with a student who achieved a 90 percent, a student whose mother or father had been diagnosed with depression would be more likely to achieve a score in the 85–86 percent range.

The magnitude of this effect was similar to the difference in school performance between children in low versus high-income families, but was smaller than the difference for low versus high maternal education (low family income: -3.6 percentage points; low maternal education -16.2 percentage points).

How well a student does in school has a large bearing on future job and income opportunities, which has heavy public health implications, explained Félice Lê-Scherban, PhD, assistant professor in the Dornsife School of Public Health. On average in the United States, she said, an adult without a high school degree earns half as much as one of their peers with a college degree and also has a life expectancy that is about 10 years lower.

“Anything that creates an uneven playing field for children in terms of their education can potentially have strong implications for health inequities down the road,” Lê-Scherban said.

Some differences along gender lines were observed in the study. Although results were largely similar for maternal and paternal depression, analysis found that episodes of depression in mothers when their children were 11–16 years old appeared to have a larger effect on girls than boys. Girls scored 5.1 percentage points lower than their peers on final grades at 16 years old when that factor was taken into account. Boys, meanwhile, only scored 3.4 percentage points lower.

Brian Lee, PhD, associate professor in the Dornsife School of Public Health, said there were gender differences in the study’s numbers, but didn’t want to lose focus of the problem parental depression presents as a whole.

“Our study — as well as many others — supports that both maternal and paternal depression may independently and negatively influence child development,” Lee said. “There are many notable sex differences in depression, but, rather than comparing maternal versus paternal depression, we should recognize that parental depression can have adverse consequences not just for the parents but also for their children.”

Depression diagnoses in a parent at any time during the child’s first 16 years were determined to have some effect on the child’s school performance. Even diagnoses of depression that came before the child’s birth were linked to poorer school performance. The study posited that it could be attributed to parents and children sharing the same genes and the possibility of passing on a disposition for depression.

The study, “Associations of Parental Depression With Child School Performance at Age 16 Years in Sweden,” whose lead author was Drexel alumna Hanyang Shen, was published in JAMA Psychiatry.

Media Contact:
Frank Otto
fmo26@drexel.edu
215.571.4244

If you or your child needs help for depression or another illness, then go to a reputable medical provider. There is nothing wrong with taking the steps necessary to get well.

Related:

Schools have to deal with depressed and troubled children
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/schools-have-to-deal-with-depressed-and-troubled-children/

School psychologists are needed to treat troubled children
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/27/school-psychologists-are-needed-to-treat-troubled-children/

Battling teen addiction: ‘Recovery high schools’
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/battling-teen-addiction-recovery-high-schools/

Resources:
1. About.Com’s Depression In Young Children http://depression.about.com/od/child/Young_Children.htm

  1. Psych Central’s Depression In Young Children http://depression.about.com/od/child/Young_Children.htm
  2. Psychiatric News’ Study Helps Pinpoint Children With Depression http://psychnews.psychiatryonline.org/newsarticle.aspx?articleid=106034
  3. Family Doctor’s What Is Depression? http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/depression.html
  4. WebMD’s Depression In Children http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-children
  5. Healthline’s Is Your Child Depressed?

http://www.healthline.com/hlvideo-5min/how-to-help-your-child-through-depression-517095449

  1. Medicine.Net’s Depression In Children http://www.onhealth.com/depression_in_children/article.htm

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