Early childhood development and mental health

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Scholarly level: 
Faculty/Staff
Final version published as: 

Schwartz, C., Waddell, C., Barican, J., Garland, O., Gray-Grant, D., & Nightingale, L. (2011). Early child development and mental health. Children’s Mental Health Research Quarterly, 5(4), 1–16. Vancouver, BC: Children’s Health Policy Centre, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University.

https://childhealthpolicy.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/RQ-4-11-Fall.pdf

Date created: 
2011
Abstract: 

Background: The overarching aim of most early childhood development (ECD) programs is to improve children’s school readiness. Over 50 years of research evidence has found that these programs lead to fewer developmental delays, better language capabilities and better school readiness for disadvantaged children. Researchers have also begun to examine the impact of ECD programs on children’s emotional wellbeing.        

Methods: We used systematic review methods to identify ECD interventions that assessed children’s social and emotional outcomes. Applying our inclusion criteria, we reported on four ECD programs found in one systematic review.  

Results: All four programs resulted in some benefits for children, all of whom were living in socio-economically disadvantaged communities. Better Beginnings, Better Futures resulted in children having fewer anxiety symptoms and better self-control when children were eight years old.  Chicago Child Parent Centre led to participants having fewer arrests at age 20 and fewer depressive symptoms between the ages of 22 and 24.  Children who participated in Perry Preschool engaged in more positive classroom behaviours at age 15 and were less likely to have tried marijuana or heroin at age 40. Finally, an ECD program delivered to children in Mauritius resulted in participants having fewer symptoms of conduct disorder and psychosis.    

Conclusions: There is a strong body of evidence supporting ECD programs for disadvantaged children to support their overall development and their mental health.  

Language: 
English
Rights: 
You are free to copy, distribute and transmit this work under the following conditions: You must give attribution to the work (but not in any way that suggests that the author endorses you or your use of the work); You may not use this work for commercial purposes; You may not alter, transform, or build upon this work. Any further uses require the permission of the rights holder (or author if no rights holder is listed). These rights are based on the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License.
Statistics: