Low-income Canadian Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal parent-child interactions.
BACKGROUND: Limited research is available on the performance of North American Aboriginal(1) people on the Nursing Child Assessment Teaching Scales (NCATS) and available research examines parent-child interactions within Aboriginal samples drawn from the USA. Most published normative data on low-income people's performance on the NCATS are also limited to samples drawn from the USA. The purpose of this research study was to use the NCATS measure to: (1) begin to develop a knowledge base that describes the parent-child interactions observed in Canadian low-income samples; and (2) explore the relationship between parent-infant interactions and ethnicity (Aboriginal or Non-Aboriginal) within a low-income Canadian sample. METHODS: Secondary analysis was completed on data collected as part of a larger study designed to examine the impact of low-income situations on pre-school children's health and development in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The NCATS measure of parent-child interaction was administered to all children (1-36 months old) and their parents in the low-income non-probability sample. The sample derived for secondary analysis consists of 12 Aboriginal parent-child pairs (11 mothers and 1 father) and 48 Non-Aboriginal parent-child pairs (47 mothers and 1 father). RESULTS: The data analysis suggests that although low-income Aboriginal parents may be less verbal with their children in interactions, the overall interaction quality is not different from that of other low-income parents. However, both groups' parent-child interaction scores were less than the published 10th percentile cut-off score, indicating 'worrisome scores' and less than optimal interactions. CONCLUSION: While the findings that compare the Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal samples are limited by the small sample size, the fact that these findings agree with those from heterogeneous Aboriginal samples drawn from the USA are encouraging. Finally, the findings provide needed information about parent-child interactions in Canadian low-income urban samples including data from Aboriginal parents and children.