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Measurement of Home Environment: The Family Care Indicators. Patrice Engle California Polytechnic State University Yuko Nonoyama-Tarumi UNICEF. Why Indicators for Family Care? . Caregiving Practices and Resources. Quality of Interactions with the Child. Child Development Outcomes.

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measurement of home environment the family care indicators

Measurement of Home Environment: The Family Care Indicators

Patrice Engle

California Polytechnic State University

Yuko Nonoyama-Tarumi


why indicators for family care
Why Indicators for Family Care?

Caregiving Practices and Resources

Quality of Interactions with the Child

Child Development Outcomes

multiple indicator cluster survey mics
Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS)
  • Household Survey
  • Nationally representative sample
  • MICS 3 (2005)
    • 56 countries
    • Household module
      • household characteristics, education, water and sanitation, nutrition, child labor, support HIV/AIDS orphans, etc.
    • Women module
      • women’s characteristics, child mortality, maternal and newborn health, marriage/union, HIV/AIDS knowledge, female genital mutilation, sexual behavior, etc.
    • Children under five module
      • children’s characteristics, birth registration, early learning, breast feeding, immunization, anthropometry, malaria, etc.
development of items
Development of Items
  • Phase I: Item identification
    • Literature review
    • Meeting of global experts (Nov, 2002)
  • Phase II: Item evaluation
    • Field tests in 7 countries (Spring, 2003)
      • Qualitative analyses: Focus groups (Content validity)
      • Quantitative analyses: Frequency analyses (Discrimination)
  • Phase III: Item selection
    • Meeting of global experts (Nov, 2003)
domains selected
Caregiving Practices

Quality of verbal interaction

Learning/stimulating activities

Limit setting and discipline techniques

Responsiveness and acceptance

Responsive feeding

Caregiving resources

Caregiver stress

Caregiver physical health

Caregiver knowledge

Alternate caregiver

Father’s involvement

Family cohesion

Social networks

Learning/stimulating materials

Domains selected
family care items in mics3 core early learning module 52 countries
Family Care Items in MICS3 (Core Early Learning Module: 52 countries)

Learning/stimulating activities

Engage in any of the activities with the child (in the past 3 days) [multiple responses]

(Asked to caretakers of children under 5 years old for each child)


family care items in mics3 optional child development module 33 countries
Family Care Items in MICS3(Optional Child Development Module: 33 countries)

Learning/stimulating materials

(Asked to caretakers of children under 5 years old once)

  • Number of books
  • Number of children’s books
  • Play materials that child play with at home
    • Household objects; Objects and materials found outside the living quarters; Homemade toys; Toys that come from a store; None

Alternate caregiver (in the last week)

  • Number of times the child was left in the care of another child (younger than 10 years old)
  • Number of times the child was left alone
child discipline items in mics3 child discipline optional module
Child Discipline Items in MICS3(Child Discipline Optional Module)

Setting Limits (Methods used in the past month)

(Asked to caretakers of children 2-14 years old for a randomly selected child)

  • Non-violent
    • Forbade something he/she liked
    • Explained why something was wrong
    • Gave him/her something else to do
  • Psychological aggression
    • Shouted, yelled at or screamed at him/her
    • Called him/her dumb, lazy, etc
  • Minor physical assault
    • Shook him/her
    • Spanked, hit or slapped him/her on the bottom with bare hand
  • Severe physical assault
    • Hit him/her on the body with something a belt, stick, etc
    • Hit or slapped him/her on the face, head or ears
    • Hit or slapped him/her on the hand, arm, or leg
    • Beat him/her with an implement
  • Do you believe that in order to bring up properly, you need to physically punish him/her
preliminary cross national analyses
Preliminary cross-national analyses
  • To what extent do countries differ in their level of family care?
  • To what extent is positive family care equally distributed within the country?
how well do these scales work
How well do these scales work?
  • Item comparison across countries
  • Validation on the HOME and Bayley Scales
  • Validation within country data
  • Recommendations for next steps
descriptive data on activities by country
Descriptive data on activities by country
  • Selected three countries with publicly available data from different parts of the world
    • Kyrgyzstan (n=2987) Bangladesh (n=34710) and Sierra Leone (n=5904)
  • Examined activities separately to see which have reasonable variability and if they vary as expected
conclusions based on descriptive data
Conclusions based on descriptive data
  • Differences by country are reasonable
  • All families do something
  • Some questions have little variability (e.g., taking child outside, play with child).
validity study bangladesh
Validity study: Bangladesh
  • 800 children at 18 months
    • HOME
    • Bayley MDI and PDI
    • Language Comprehension and Expression
  • 129 of them also measured at 12 months on same measures
  • 40 given 7-14 week test-retest on Activities and Toys

Grantham-McGregor, Hamadani, and Engle, 2008

  • 6 activity items
    • Play – “play with toys” rather than “play”
  • Sources of toys
  • Variety of toys
  • Books
  • Childcare situation
associations of activity index with outcome measures n 798
Associations of Activity Index with Outcome Measures (n=798)

+Controlling for maternal education, wealth, family size, birthweight, gestational age, paternal education, income, age, gender, other family care measures

means of mdi by number of family activities controlling for age n 800 18 months
Means of MDI by Number of Family Activities controlling for age (N=800; 18 months)

ANOVA significant at p<.001

  • Family Activity Index appears to be reliable and valid
  • Increases with MDI in a linear fashion – no clear cut-off
  • Sources of toys is not so strong
  • Variety of toys much stronger (not reported here)
validity assessment with mics data bangladesh n 34 710
Validity assessment with MICS data: Bangladesh (N=34,710)
  • Internal consistency
  • Association of items with age
  • Associations with maternal education, household wealth, gender
  • Associations with two parent report measures: Do you do anything to prepare your child for school (3 and 4 only); and do you do things to develop your child’s intelligence
  • Value of individual activity questions
  • Family Activities Scale works quite well
  • Sources of toys functions less well
  • Need more work to define a cut-off point – four or more activities may not be the best
  • Analyze role of fathers separately
  • Make a separate code for some activities such as “read books”
  • May revise wording on some questions
    • Could replace “take outside”
    • Might use “play with toys” rather than “play”
  • Complete analyses with the rest of the countries
  • Apply and use for Advocacy