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The socioeconomic and biological risk factors for developmental delay in early childhood


To investigate the biological and socioeconomic factors associated with developmental attainment in socioeconomically disadvantaged children. This study was performed at the Dr. Sami Ulus Children’s Health and Diseases Training and Research Hospital, between January and December 2010. The effects of biological, socioeconomic risk factors on developmental delay were investigated in 692 children (3 months–5 years) using the Denver II. Low-level maternal education (odds ratio [OR], 11.118; 95 % CI, 4.211–29.351), low-level paternal education (OR, 2.107; 95 % CI, 1.333–3.331), low-level household income (OR, 2.673; 95 % CI, 1.098–2.549), and ≥3 children in the family (OR, 1.871; 95 % CI, 1.206–2.903) were strongly associated with abnormal on Denver II; biological risk factors, including birth weight, gestational age at birth, and maternal age at birth <20 years, were correlated with suspect on Denver II results based on univariate analysis. Low-level maternal education (OR, 6.281; 95 % CI, 2.193–17.989), premature birth (32–36 weeks of gestation; OR, 0.535; 95 % CI, 0.290–0.989) were strongly associated with abnormal on Denver II results, and low-level paternal education (OR, 3.088; 95 % CI, 1.521–6.268), low-level household income (OR, 1.813; 95 % CI, 1.069–3.077), low birth weight (<1,500 g; OR, 3.003; 95 % CI, 1.316–6.854), premature birth (27–31 weeks of gestation; OR, 2.612; 95 % CI, 1.086–6.286), and maternal age at birth <20 years (OR, 3.518; 95 % CI, 1.173–10.547) were strongly associated with suspect on Denver II results based on multivariate analysis.


Socioeconomic risk factors were observed to be as important as biological risk factors in the development of children aged 3 months–5 years.

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We would like to thank Scott B. Evans for English language editing.

Conflict of interest

We as the authors state that there is no conflict of interest and the work is not a part of any commercial organization.

Ethical approval

Dr Sami Ulus Children’s Health and Diseases Training and Research Hospital (no. B.1041SM4060017, 20.05.09*3425).

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Correspondence to Mehpare Ozkan.

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Ozkan, M., Senel, S., Arslan, E.A. et al. The socioeconomic and biological risk factors for developmental delay in early childhood. Eur J Pediatr 171, 1815–1821 (2012).

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  • Child development
  • Denver II
  • Parental education
  • Socioeconomic risk factors
  • Biological risk factors