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Dev Psychol. 2012 Jul;48(4):1033-43. doi: 10.1037/a0026644. Epub 2012 Jan 16.

Adult outcomes as a function of an early childhood educational program: an Abecedarian Project follow-up.

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Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, CB # 8180, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-8180, USA.


Adult (age 30) educational, economic, and social-emotional adjustment outcomes were investigated for participants in the Abecedarian Project, a randomized controlled trial of early childhood education for children from low-income families. Of the original 111 infants enrolled (98% African American), 101 took part in the age 30 follow-up. Primary indicators of educational level, economic status, and social adjustment were examined as a function of early childhood treatment. Treated individuals attained significantly more years of education, but income-to-needs ratios and criminal involvement did not vary significantly as a function of early treatment. A number of other indicators were described for each domain. Overall, the findings provide strong evidence for educational benefits, mixed evidence for economic benefits, and little evidence for treatment-related social adjustment outcomes. Implications for public policy are discussed.

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