Investigating the effects of social, cultural, demographic, and socio-economic factors on developmental health and education trajectories of children in British Columbia

In BC, child poverty has reached 22 percent (First Call, 2008), the highest provincial rate within Canada. BC is characterized by its ethno-cultural diversity, with 20 percent of all children having recently immigrated, and more than 50 percent of children in some urban school districts having English as their second language. Furthermore, BC has been affected by rapid economic, environmental and demographic changes. An understanding of how personal and contextual factors are associated with developmental patterns of resilience and vulnerability among the different communities and subpopulations of BC is important. More specifically, it is critical to identify to what degree developmental needs and strengths differ from one context and subpopulation to another, and in which ways these differences in needs and strengths are associated with the cultural and socio-economic characteristics of those different communities and subpopulations.

Dr. Guhn's research draws from a unique, population-level linked database that provides an unprecedented opportunity to examine the social determinants of developmental health and education of children in BC. By utilizing population-level data on health and education outcomes for 40,000 children, and data on socio-economic and demographic characteristics for all of the 478 neighbourhoods in BC, Dr. Guhn will provide a detailed analysis of how social, cultural, demographic, and socio-economic factors are jointly related to health and education trajectories of children in BC. His findings have important implications for further developmental health research as well as for practices and policies in health and education. Furthermore, his data will inform practitioners and policy makers in health and education with respect to the process of adapting health and education service delivery according to characteristics that are specific to particular subpopulations and communities.