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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Gross motor development among Canadian infants of Asian and European ethnic backgrounds Mayson, Tanja A.


Background and Purpose: Differences in the motor development of children of various ethnic backgrounds have been reported in the literature, yet no studies have examined similarities and differences in the development of motor skills among Canadian infants of different ethnic origins. The primary purpose of this study was to compare the motor development of infants of Asian and European ethnic backgrounds, the two most highly represented ethnic groups in British Columbia. Two secondary research questions addressed the conflicting evidence surrounding the effect of sex and socioeconomic status on motor development. Null hypotheses were tested for the three research questions. Subjects: Test scores from 300 infants of European background and 35 infants of Asian background formed the data set for analysis. Infants aged 2.5 to 12.5 months were developing typically. Methods: Using a cross-sectional design, this study evaluated similarities and differences in motor development to answer the research questions. The Harris Infant Neuromotor Test (HINT) was used to assess infant neuromotor development. Three sets of data were used: 1) retrospective data from infants who had participated in the completed HINT normative study; 2) data from infants who are participating in an ongoing study entitled Training & Outcomes for Early Identification of Infants with Neuromotor Delays; and 3) data from additional infants of Asian background who were recruited to increase the size of that group. Results: Factorial ANOVA of the primary hypothesis indicated that there were no differences in motor development between infants from these two ethnic backgrounds. Analysis of the secondary hypotheses indicated no difference in infant motor development based on sex or maternal education; the latter served as an indicator of socioeconomic background. Discussion: Although specific limitations must be considered, the results of this study clearly indicate no difference in the motor development of Canadian infants of Asian and European ethnic backgrounds. Conclusion: Clinicians can be confident with the use of the HINT when used to screen infants of Asian and European backgrounds for developmental delay. HINT results for other ethnic groups should be interpreted with caution until further information is available.

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