Early Childhood Education and Adult Depression: An Attrition Reanalysis With Inverse Propensity Score Weighting

Christina F. Mondi, Arthur J. Reynolds, Brandt A. Richardson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In a previous study of the Child-Parent Centers (CPC) education program, preschool participation was linked to a 4.6 percentage point reduction (26%) in depressive symptoms at ages 22–24 over the matched comparison group enrolling the usual programs. The present study reanalyzed these data in the Chicago Longitudinal Study to address potential attrition bias since more than a quarter of the sample was missing on the outcome. Using inverse probability weighting (IPW) involving 32 predictors of sample retention, findings for the 1,142 participants growing up in high-poverty neighborhoods indicated that CPC participation was associated with a 7.1 percentage point reduction (95% CI = [−9.7, −5.4]) in one or more depressive symptoms (39% reduction over the comparison group). Although this marginal effect was within the confidence interval of the original study (95% CI = [−9.5, 0.3]), the 54% increase in the point estimate is substantial and of practical significance, suggesting underestimation in the prior study. Alternative analysis of different predictors and IPW models, including adjustments for program selection and attrition together, yielded similar results. Findings indicate that high-quality early childhood programs continue to be an important strategy for the prevention of depression and its debilitating effects on individuals and families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)379-409
Number of pages31
JournalEvaluation Review
Volume44
Issue number5-6
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Preparation of this manuscript was supported in part by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (No. HD034294), the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (No. 00039202), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Grant OPP1173152). Funding has been obtained from Lorraine M. Sullivan Memorial Fund.

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Preparation of this manuscript was supported in part by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (No. HD034294), the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (No. 00039202), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Grant OPP1173152). Funding has been obtained from Lorraine M. Sullivan Memorial Fund.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.

Keywords

  • behavioral health care and policy
  • depression
  • design and evaluation of programs and policies
  • early childhood education
  • inverse probability weighting
  • measurement
  • methodological development
  • preschool

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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