Numerous studies have shown that childhood interventions can foster improved outcomes in adulthood. Less well understood is precisely how-that is, through which developmental pathways-these interventions work. This study assesses mechanisms by which the Fast Track project (n = 891), a randomized intervention in the early 1990s for high-risk children in four communities (Durham, NC; Nashville, TN; rural PA; and Seattle, WA), reduced delinquency, arrests, and general and mental health service utilization in adolescence through young adulthood (ages 12-20). A decomposition of treatment effects indicates that about a third of Fast Track's impact on later crime outcomes can be accounted for by improvements in social and self-regulation skills during childhood (ages 6-11), such as prosocial behavior, emotion regulation, and problem solving. These skills proved less valuable for the prevention of general and mental health problems.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology