Social sciences

In this section you will find abstracts of scientific articles or of presentation at scientific meetings for the social sciences research

Children’s experience of the first lockdown in France

During the first COVID-19 lockdown in France in the spring of 2020, schools were closed and all activities outside the home were suspended. Primary school children who found themselves confined to their homes adapted quite well to the change. They continued with their schoolwork and took advantage of their freedom to spend more time on daily activities [...]

Early language socialization

This study explored the role of three types of early language interaction between parents and children (sitting quietly and talking, singing nursery rhymes, reading books) in the development of infants’ language comprehension and expression at 1 year. All three language socialization activities commonly take place within families, but parents do not always play an equal part in them, depending on their social position and cultural capital (culture in which they were immersed when young, education level, etc.), as well as the child’s sex and number of siblings. [Link to the article]

Role of grandparents after a birth

Thalineau A., Nowik L., “Place des grands-parents après la naissance du nouveau-né. Les attentes des parents participant à la cohorte Elfe”, Revue des politiques sociales et familiales, no. 126, 2018.

This study looked at what parents expect from the grandparents of their newborn child, based on survey data collected when the Elfe children were 2 months old and information yielded by a qualitative survey among 40 couples who had their first child in 2011. New families have to strike a balance between involving the grandparents in the life of their child and maintaining their autonomy and prerogatives as parents, especially when it comes to decisions about childrearing. Mothers expect more from grandparents than fathers do.They tend to turn to their own parents, and more especially the child’s maternal grandmother, for mothering and advice. [Link to the article]

Socioeconomic inequalities in language and motor development

Grobon S., Panico L., Solaz A., “Inégalités socioéconomiques dans le développement langagier et moteur des enfants à 2 ans”, Bulletin Epidémiologique Hebdomadaire, no. 1, 2019.

Compulsory education in France now starts at 3 years instead of 6 years, the aim being to reduce social inequalities as early as possible. However, a study of young children’s language and motor development has shown that differences linked to their parents’ socioeconomic background are already present at 2 years (i.e., before they start nursery school). INED’s researchers found that although language and physical development are closely associated in young children, socioeconomic inequalities primarily show up in language development. Children have a more diversified vocabulary when they are looked after in a day nursery or by a childminder than when they stay at home with their parents or grandparents. [Link to the article]

Caring and sharing: who looks after baby?

Samuel O., Brugeilles C., Demoli Y., Hamelin C., Prigent R., Elfe scientific meeting, FIAP Jean Monnet, Paris, 13 March 2017.

When the infants were 2 months old, we looked at how their mothers and fathers shared the physical childcare tasks (changing nappies, cleaning the baby’s nose, bath time, etc.). A comparison of parents’ stated attitudes towards these activities and who actually did what revealed that neither the division of childcare between the two parents nor self-reported attitudes towards this care seemed to depend on the infant’s sex. By contrast, both attitudes and levels of participation varied considerably between mothers and fathers. Our results confirm the conclusions of numerous studies that parental care and household tasks are unequally shared, with mothers being the main care providers for their infants. Nonetheless, the degree of inequality depends on the nature of the task, especially when it comes to baths and nappy changing. The tasks of bottlefeeding (i.e. for infants who are not breastfed) and putting the infant to bed are more equally shared. [Find out more]

Growing up in a family of immigrant origin in France

Eremenko T., Elfe scientific meeting, FIAP Jean Monnet, Paris, 13 March 2017.

Today, one newborn in four in France has at least one immigrant parent, with similar proportions of children with two immigrant parents and those born to mixed couples. These children’s origins partially reflect those of migrants to France over the past three decades, in that 69% have parents who were born in Africa – the majority in North Africa (40%). The family models that prevail in the sending societies and their parents’ childhood experiences (e.g., being raised by both parents, the mother, or other family members) help to shape their own family behaviour. The experience of migration (during childhood or adulthood, recent or more distant) and integration in the receiving country (employment and place of residence) also has an impact on these families’ experiences, in terms of the assistance they receive from extended family members and the household’s standard of living. [See presentation]

Low birth weight and socioeconomic characteristics

Panico L., Tô M., Thévenon O., “La fréquence des naissances de petit poids: quelle influence a le niveau d’instruction des mères?”, Population et Sociétés no. 523, June 2015.

Researchers have found that low birthweight is influenced by several socioeconomic factors, in particular the mother’s education level. Women with the lowest academic qualifications have the greatest risk of giving birth to a low-weight infant (below 2.5 kg). More specifically, this risk is 50% higher for women with no qualifications than for women with a high-school diploma. This gap narrows slightly when household income is taken into account, as well as factors such as the child’s birth order, the mother’s age and the parents’ height, but does not close altogether.
Tobacco and alcohol use during pregnancy also seems to play a role, partly explaining the higher frequency of low birthweight among the offspring of the least academically qualified mothers. France and the United Kingdom have comparable socioeconomic variations in the risk of low birthweight. [Link to article]

Becoming the parents of a boy or girl

Brachet S., Brugeilles C., Paillet A., Pélage A., Rollet C., Samuel O., “Devenir parents d’une fille ou d’un garcon”, Trajectoires et Ages de Vie, XVIIIth AIDELF international symposium, Bari University, 26-30 May 2014.

Nearly nine future parents out of 10 would like to find out the sex of their child before it is born. For their first child, 60% of parents have no preference. Among the remaining 40%, preferences are equally divided among mothers (20% would like a girl and 21% a boy), but fathers are keener to have a boy (25.5% prefer a boy and 15% a girl). For their second child, the proportion of parents without a preference is very slightly lower. The preferences of the remainder are highly dependent on the sex of the first child, as parents often wish to have mixed siblings. One of the aims of this research project is to ascertain whether such preferences influence the start of parenthood.

Straight from our researchers

Researchers describe their work and report their initial analyses.

Parents’ Practices in Infant Care - Presented by Olivia Samuel - 2017

Low birth weight in babies: socioeconomic factors [FR]
Presentation by Lidia Panico, researcher at INED

Anticipate the birth by knowing the sex of the child - By Olivia Samuel (Ined)

Educational inequality: going back to early childhood [FR]
Presented by Bertrand Geay, Professor of Education at the University of Picardy, Deputy Director of the Elfe survey

Xavier Thierry, Deputy director of the Elfe survey [FR]

Pregnant women’s diet and their adherence to recommendations, infants’ respiratory health, exposure of mothers and their newborns to environmental pollutants, etc.

Researchers describe their work. Watch the videos (French-language version)


Straight from our researchers
Pregnant women’s diet and their adherence to recommendations, infants’ respiratory health, exposure of mothers and their newborns to environmental pollutants, etc.
Researchers describe their work. Watch the videos (French-language version)

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