07 November 2019

The impact of multidimensional disadvantage over childhood on developmental outcomes in Australia

This research used data from the LSAC to investigate the association between exposure to aspects of disadvantage over the childhood period (from 0–9 years) and child development at 10–11 years. Exposure to disadvantage over time is associated with adverse child development outcomes. Developmental outcomes varied with the aspects of disadvantage experienced. Trajectories of disadvantage were associated with developmental outcomes: children in the most disadvantaged composite trajectory had seven times higher risk of poor outcomes on two or more developmental domains, compared with those most advantaged. Trajectories of disadvantage were varyingly associated with the child development domains of socio-emotional adjustment, physical functioning and learning competencies. Exposure to the most advantaged trajectory across all lenses could reduce poor developmental outcomes by as much as 70%.