Reducing poverty and inequality through preschool-to-third-grade prevention services

Arthur J. Reynolds, Suh Ruu Ou, Christina F. Mondi, Alison Giovanelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The contributions of psychology to the development and evaluation of preschool-to-thirdgrade prevention programs are analyzed with an emphasis on poverty alleviation through implementation of effective services for a greater number of children. The need to alleviate poverty and increase economic success is high. Early childhood programs have been found to be an effective strategy for promoting educational success and economic well-being, but the availability of high quality programs that are aligned and integrated with schools across the learning continuum is limited. Psychology has made major contributions to knowledge and practice in (a) defining and evaluating educational enrichment and (b) understanding mechanisms of behavioral change. As an empirical illustration of these contributions for enhancing economic well-being, we report new midlife income data in the Child-Parent Centers, a preschool-to-third-grade program that integrates the two major contributions to improve life course outcomes. Based on a well-matched alternative-intervention design with high sample retention (86%; N = 1,329), findings indicate that participation was associated with a 25% increase in average annual income at age 34 years ($22,708 vs. $18,130; p < .01). Graduates were also more likely to be in the top income quartile (≥$27,500; 30.7% vs. 20.2%; p < .01). Most of the main effects were explained by cognitive, school, and family factors, though further corroboration is needed. Implications for strengthening the impacts of early childhood programs as an avenue for increasing well-being and reducing inequality emphasize redressing ecological barriers, improving continuity and alignment with other strategies, and implementing effectiveness elements widely.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)653-672
Number of pages20
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Volume74
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2019

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Poverty
Economics
Psychology
Learning

Keywords

  • Early childhood
  • Longitudinal studies
  • Mechanisms and mediators
  • Poverty and economic well-being
  • Preventive interventions

PubMed: MeSH publication types

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

Cite this

Reducing poverty and inequality through preschool-to-third-grade prevention services. / Reynolds, Arthur J.; Ou, Suh Ruu; Mondi, Christina F.; Giovanelli, Alison.

In: American Psychologist, Vol. 74, No. 6, 09.2019, p. 653-672.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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