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Author Affiliations: Departments of Society, Human Development, and Health (Drs McCormick and Buka) and Biostatistics (Dr Salganik), Harvard School of Public Health, and Department of Neonatology, Beth Israel Medical Center (Dr McCormick and Ms Mao), Boston, Massachusetts; Department of Epidemiology, Brown Medical School, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island (Dr Buka); and National Center for Children and Families, the Teachers College and College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York (Dr Brooks-Gunn). Dr Salganik is now with Cytel, Inc, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Object To assess whether younger siblings of participants in an early (preschool) educational program would benefit in terms of developmental and educational outcomes.
Design Assessment of a cohort of siblings of intervention participants at a mean age of 13.5 years.
Setting The Infant Health and Development Program (IHDP), an 8-site randomized trial of 3 years of early education for premature low-birth-weight infants who were followed up through 18 years of age.
Participants Siblings born within 5 years of the IHDP study participants.
Main Exposure A sibling born no more than 5 years earlier who participated in the IHDP.
Main Outcome Measures Observed IQ; youth report of behavioral problems, their expectations of future success, and their relationship with their parents; and the caregiver's report on the youth's school progress and their expectations of the youth's educational attainment.
Results Of 878 IHDP participants who were followed up, 466 (53.1%) had an eligible younger sibling, and 229 of those siblings (49.1%) agreed to participate. No differences were seen between the siblings of those who did and did not receive the IHDP intervention on any of the outcome measures. Adjusting for maternal race/ethnicity, age, and educational attainment at the birth of the study participant; study site; sex of the sibling; and losses to the cohort did not alter the results.
Conclusion Participation in an early educational program confers no apparent benefit on younger siblings in their early adolescent years.
McCormick MC, Buka S, Brooks-Gunn J, Salganik M, Mao W. Effect of Early Educational Intervention on Younger Siblings: The Infant Health and Development Program. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2012;166(10):891–896. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2012.547
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