Year of Publication



Public Health

Date Available


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Committee Chair

Robin Vanderpool, DrPH, CHES

Committee Member

Corrine Williams, ScD

Committee Member

Linda Alexander, EdD


Objectives: (1) Determine whether three individual positive parenting practices (PPP) – reading to children, engaging in storytelling or singing, and eating meals together as a family – decrease the risk of developmental, behavioral, or social delays among children between the ages of 1-5 years in the United States. (2) Determine if a combination of these parenting practices has an additive effect on the outcome. Methods: Multiple logistic regression and chi-square analyses were used to analyze data from the National Survey of Children’s Health 2011/2012 in regards to the relationship between each of the three individual PPP as well as a total PPP score and the child’s risk of being developmentally, socially, or behaviorally delayed (N=24,875). These analyses controlled for poverty and parental education. All analyses were completed using SAS Version 9.3. Results: A strong correlation was found between each of the three PPP as well as the total PPP score and the child’s risk of developmental, social, or behavioral delays (p<0.05 for each test). These associations were found to have a dose-response relationship (p<0.05 in all but one analysis). Conclusions: This study found that parents engaging in daily PPP could possibly reduce the risk of delay in young children. Furthermore, we found that engaging in all three PPP daily has an additive effect in reducing risk of delays. Limitations of this study include its cross-sectional design, as well as potential recall and social desirability biases.

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