The Relationship Between Infant Peer Interactions and Cognitive Development: Evidence from Rural China

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Chinese Journal of Sociology, Vol. 3


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Abstract: Social interactions in infancy have implications for long-term outcomes. This study uses data from a sample of 1412 rural Chinese infants aged 6–12 and 24–30 months to examine the relationship between peer interactions and cognitive development. Over 75% of the infants in this sample had less than three peers and around 20% had no peers in both periods. The prevalence of cognitive delays is high within this sample and increases as infants age. Multivariate analysis reveals that peer interaction is significantly associated with cognitive development. Heterogeneous analysis suggests that peer interactions and mental development may be related to the child’s primary caregiver and the distance from the child’s household to the center of their village.

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