Health outcomes of the abecedarian, child-parent center, and highscope perry preschool programs

Michelle M Englund, Barry White, Arthur J Reynolds, Lawrence J. Schweinhart, Frances A. Campbell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

12 Scopus citations


Researchers examining data from three longitudinal studies of highquality preschool programs provided to preschoolers from low-income families - the Carolina Abecedarian Project, the Chicago Child-Parent Centers, and the HighScope Perry Preschool Program - have identified positive long-term effects of early educational interventions on adult outcomes including education attainment, criminal behavior, and economic well-being (e.g., Campbell et al., 2002; Campbell et al., 2012; Reynolds and Ou, 2011; Reynolds et al., 2001; Schweinhart, Barnes, and Weikart, 1993; Schweinhart et al., 2005). Furthermore, cost-benefit analyses of these early childhood education programs have documented the existence of social benefits that far exceed the costs of the interventions (Barnett and Masse, 2007; Heckman et al., 2010; Reynolds et al., 2011; Schweinhart et al., 2005). The current chapter extends this previous research by investigating the effects of early childhood education on adult health using data from all three of these longitudinal studies. Prior research indicates a link between socioeconomic status (SES), education, and health (see, for example, Cutler and Lleras-Muney, 2012; Molla, Madans, and Wagener, 2004; Topitzes et al., 2009; Turrell et al., 2007). More specifically, higher SES and educational attainment are associated with better health outcomes in adulthood and investigators have confirmed the lifelong health consequences of early disadvantage (Luo and Waite, 2005; Melchior et al., 2007; Pascall, Flewelling, and Faulkner, 2000; Topitzes et al., 2009). Furthermore, research on the effects of early intervention suggests that participation in a high-quality preschool program is associated with higher educational attainment among individuals from low-income families (Campbell et al., 2002; Campbell et al., 2012; Consortium for Longitudinal Studies, 1983; Currie and Thomas, 2000; Garces, Thomas, and Currie, 2002; Reynolds et al., 2001; Reynolds et al., 2010; Schweinhart et al., 1993; Schweinhart et al., 2005). Additionally, some studies have found a positive direct effect of preschool participation on specific health outcomes in early adulthood (Anderson, Foster, and Frisvold, 2010; Muennig et al., 2011; Reynolds et al., 2007; Topitzes et al., 2009). Other evidence suggests, however, that the influence of preschool involvement on health and health compromising behaviors in early adulthood is not direct, but, rather, that preschool involvement affects health outcomes via its influence on intervening educational factors, including educational attainment (D’Onise et al., 2010; Muennig et al., 2009).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHealth and Education in Early Childhood
Subtitle of host publicationPredictors, Interventions, and Policies
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages36
ISBN (Electronic)9781139814805
ISBN (Print)9781107038349
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


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