Gahvora cradling in Tajikistan: Cultural practices and associations with motor development

Lana B. Karasik, Karen E. Adolph, Sara N. Fernandes, Scott R. Robinson, Catherine S. Tamis-LeMonda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In Tajikistan, infants are bound supine in a “gahvora” cradle that severely restricts movement. Does cradling affect motor development and body growth? In three studies (2013–2018), we investigated associations between time in the gahvora (within days and across age) and motor skills and flattened head dimensions in 8–24-month-old Tajik infants (N = 269, 133 girls, 136 boys)) and 4.3–5.1-year-old children (N = 91, 53 girls, 38 boys). Infants had later motor onset ages relative to World Health Organization standards and pronounced brachycephaly; cradling predicted walk onset age and the proficiency of sitting, crawling, and walking. By 4–5 years, children's motor skills were comparable with US norms. Cultural differences in early experiences offer a unique lens onto developmental processes and equifinality in development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1049-1067
Number of pages19
JournalChild development
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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