Predicting changes in language skills between 2 and 3 years in the EDEN mother-child cohort

PeerJ. 2014 Apr 1;2:e335. doi: 10.7717/peerj.335. eCollection 2014.


Objective. To examine the factors predicting changes in language skills between 2 and 3 years. Methods. By using longitudinal data concerning 1002 children from the EDEN study, linear regression was used to predict 3-year language performance from 2-year language performance and the risk factors associated with language delays. Logistic regressions were performed to examine two change trajectories: children who fall below the 10th percentile of language skills between 2 and 3 years (declining trajectory), and those who rose above the 10th percentile (resilient trajectory). Results. The final linear model accounted for 43% of the variance in 3-year language scores, with 2-year language scores accounting for 22%. Exposure to alcohol during pregnancy, earlier birth term, lower level of parental education and lower frequency of maternal stimulation were associated with the declining trajectory. Breastfeeding was associated with the resilient trajectory. Conclusions. This study provides a better understanding of the natural history of early language delays by identifying biological and social factors that predict changes in language skills between the ages of 2 and 3 years.

Keywords: Child; Language delays; Longitudinal study; Preschool; Trajectory.

Grant support

This EDEN study was supported by: Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale (FRM), French Ministry of Research IFR and Cohort Program, INSERM Nutrition Research Program, French Ministry of Health Perinatality Program, French Agency for Environment Security (AFFSET), French National Institute for Population Health Surveillance (INVS), Paris-Sud University, French National Institute for Health Education (INPES), Nestlé, Mutuelle Générale de l’Education Nationale (MGEN), French Speaking Association for the Study of Diabetes and Metabolism (Alfediam), National Agency for Research (ANR non thematic program), and National Institute for Research in Public Health (IRESP TGIR Cohorte Santé 2008 Program). Additional funding came from ANR contracts ANR-10-LABX-0087, ANR-11-0001-02 PSL*, and ANR-12-DSSA-0005-01. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.