Analyzing the Impacts of Two Influential Early Childhood Programs on Participants Through Midlife

This subcontract to the University of Chicago allows UNC-CH to join an interdisciplinary team that will collect, analyze, and compare data on the impacts on participants through midlife, and on their children, of the two most influential early childhood education programs: the HighScope Perry Preschool Program (PPP) and the Carolina Abecedarian Project (ABC) that targeted disadvantaged, predominantly Black, children. Evidence and approaches from these two studies is the cornerstone of wide-scale initiatives for pre-kindergarten programs around the world. Both programs were evaluated by RCTs and have, by far, the longest follow-ups of any experimentally evaluated early childhood programs (PPP through age 40; ABC through age 30 [health through age 35]). In light of the short-term evaluations of most early childhood programs, these two interventions are influential because they have long-term follow-ups that show persistent beneficial effects through young adulthood.

UNC-CH will work closely with the University of Chicago in their follow-up study of ABC through age 45 and to build on our previous analyses of both data sets to analyze a new wave of data being collected at age 50 for PPP that includes epidemiological measures collected for the first time of: (a) physical and mental health, including metabolic and cardiac risk factors, and depression; (b) adult cognitive skills and executive functioning; (c) assessments of non-cognitive skills; and (d) impacts on participant child outcomes. We will collect comparable data on ABC participants, following the protocols of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) as is being done for PPP at age 50. For both ABC and PPP, we will have self-reported and administrative data on earnings, employment, use of social services, criminal activity, and direct assessments of health and cognition. All data sets will be made publicly available upon completion of the project.

FPG Project Staff:
Margaret R. Burchinal, Principal Investigator
Funding Agency: University of Chicago
Funding Period: 09/15/2016 - 12/31/2018
Award Amount: $197,606