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

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


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.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Child Development*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Early Intervention, Educational*
  • Educational Status*
  • Family
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Poverty
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Adjustment*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult