A Comparative Study of Black South African Children from Three Different Contexts

Ivy N. Goduka, Debra A. Poole, Lillian Aotaki‐Phenice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


This study compares family characteristics and developmental outcomes of black children (N= 300) from 3 rural contexts in South Africa: the homeland, the resettlement, and the white‐owned farms. Parents in the homeland were more likely to be married and had more education, less household crowding, and lower mobility than parents in the other 2 areas, and higher occupational status than parents from the farms. Child outcomes paralleled these differences in material resources and family stability. Children from the homeland scored higher than children from the resettlement or farms on head circumference, vocabulary, quantitative skill, and self‐concept, with no significant differences between the latter 2 areas on these outcome variables. Children from the homeland also scored higher than resettlement children on weight, copying skill, and height, with children from the farms measuring lowest on height. Child outcomes were highly intercorrelated in all 3 residence areas, but correlations among family variables, and between family and child variables, showed different patterns across areas. Parent education, occupation, and crowding were the most consistent predictors of physical development, cognitive development, and self‐concept. Family mobility and marital status, however, showed different relationships to other family variables and to child outcomes across the 3 environments. These results highlight the importance of studying children in multiple environmental contexts, because family characteristics are not associated uniformly across residence areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-525
Number of pages17
JournalChild Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1992


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