The use of the Revised Griffiths Development Scales in a group of 9 month–old South African babies
Von Wielligh, Jacquiline
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The aim of this study was to determine the applicability of the Griffiths Development Scales, Extended Revised (GMDS–ER) in a contemporary South Africa. This study explores the performance of South African babies aged 9 months as it relates to that of British babies (from the standardisation sample). Over the last few years, researchers have made a significant effort to address the need for more reliable and valid assessment measures for South Africa. The literature study shows research evidence indicating that South African children are influenced by several risk factors such as poverty, HIV/AIDS, inadequate health and social services as well as poor living conditions. Furthermore, the role of culture and gender in child development are discussed in detail. These are only some of the influences that contribute significantly to the healthy development and later successful functioning of South African children as they age. The impact may also impair development leading to possible developmental delays. The South African context necessitates developmental assessment measures with particular characteristics. A critical examination of a variety of potential measures indicates that there are very few measures available to meet these specific needs. The Griffiths Mental Development Scales, Extended Revised (GMDS–ER) who is judged to be one such measure, are examined. For the empirical study the research group consisted of normal South African (n=120) babies from Potchefstroom and Klerksdorp. Babies were selected on the basis of availability. All babies were tested with the Griffiths Development Scales, Extended Revised (GMDS–ER). Statistical analysis of the data shows that South African and British babies’ overall developmental profiles were similar. The South African sample performed slightly better (although not statistically significant) than the British normative sample on all the sub-scales. With regard to gender differences, the girls fared significantly better than the boys on the Locomotor, Personal–Social, Hearing and Language Sub-scales. Comparisons between different ethnic groups on the GMDS–ER showed significant differences, the White and Indian groups performed better throughout on all five sub-scales than the Coloured and Black groups. The group of Black infants performed poorest throughout on all five sub-scales compared to the other ethnic groups. In view of the findings, further investigation into the applicability of the GMDS–ER for South African use is essential and the establishment of South African norms for clinical utilisation should receive urgent attention. Caution with regard to the use of the British–based norms in the South African context is recommended.
- Health Sciences 
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