Inter-cohort analysis of parental risk factors for development of infants

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Yu.Е. Shmatova, I.N. Razvarina, А.N. Gordievskaya


Vologda Research Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 56a Gor’kogo Str., Vologda, 160014,
Russian Federation


Children develop rapidly in the first year of life and this period should create a solid ground for their health in future. Diseases of the nervous system, mental and behavioral disorders occupy leading places among causes of childhood disability. Given that, the aim of this study was to search for parental risk factors endangering physical and neuropsychic development of infants.

Infants living in Vologda region were selected as a research object. Our informational basis was represented by sample data of the prospective monitoring over children’s health (894 children from five different cohorts born in 1998, 2001, 2004, 2014 and 2020); statistical and sociological data on prevalence of risk factors in Russia and in the region. The information was provided by healthcare workers (obstetrician-gynecologist, neonatologist, and pediatrician) and children’s mothers. The applied methodology included inter- and intra-cohort sociological analysis; calculation of relative risk (RR) to assess a correlation between developmental delay and parental factors. Child development was assessed by a pediatrician using abnormal psychology and adaptation approaches. We analyzed Russian and foreign studies that focused on the same research subject.

We calculated relative risks of various social-demographic, socioeconomic, biomedical and environmental factors for the development of children who participated in the cohort monitoring. This allowed us to identify those with prognostic value including young age of parents (RR = 1.40); a single-parent family (RR = 1.46), bad relationships between spouses (RR = 1.36); low purchasing ability of a family (RR = 1.59), poor living conditions (RR = 1.66); a future mother being exposed to chemicals and toxic substances (RR = 1.31), gas pollution (RR = 2.02), hand high temperatures (RR = 1.56) at her workplace one year prior to childbirth; a smoking mother (RR = 1.56); a father having a sexually transmitted disease (RR = 3.23); abnormal pregnancy. The identified risk factors for child development occur prior to childbirth and are manageable. Awareness about them makes it possible to neutralize their negative influence when a pregnancy is being planned.

Our analysis of statistical and sociological data has revealed a descending trend for prevalence of practically all the analyzed risk factors. Still, some factors cause certain concern including high prevalence of smoking among women, future mothers included; prevalence of anemia in pregnant women; unresolved financial issues and poor living conditions of a considerable share of families who are expecting a child; effects produced on women by harmful working conditions. The results of this study can be used for developing programs aimed at protecting child’s health at any level, from an individual to the national one.

physical and neuropsychic development of a child, risk factors, age of a mother and father, harmful working conditions of a mother, parents’ health, anemia, edemas, pregnancy, smoking, socioeconomic conditions, a single-parent family
Shmatova Yu.Е., Razvarina I.N., Gordievskaya А.N. Inter-cohort analysis of parental risk factors for development of infants. Health Risk Analysis, 2023, no. 2, pp. 115–129. DOI: 10.21668/health.risk/2023.2.11.eng
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