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The relationship between health history factors and academic achievement/cognitive development in Native Indian children Nolan, Kathleen Marie


This study examined the relationship between health history factors and academic readiness/cognitive abilities in a sample of grade one Native Indian children. Subjects ranged in age from 5-11 to 7-08. There were 14 male and 5 female students in the sample. A battery of psychoeducational tests was administered to each child. Medical data were obtained from files at the Indian Health Office. Individual health factors as well as a composite risk score were used in analyses. Correlations were computed to determine the relationship between the health factors and the psychoeducational test scores. A series of t-tests was undertaken to examine differences in means between the high and low health risk groups. Several significant correlations were found: Respiratory illnesses, Dental problems and failed Denver Developmental Screening Tests were associated with lower scores on several psychoeducational measures. The overall risk composite was found to be a meaningful predictor of readiness for this sample. Children in the high risk group scored lower on ten of the eleven tests/subtests. The differences between the means of the high and low risk groups were significant for the K-ABC Number Recall and Metropolitan Readiness Language. This sample did manifest a wide variety of the health ailments found to be endemic in Native Indian populations. These health problems appeared to be associated with their performance on the psychoeducational battery.

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