Policymakers around the world are increasingly interested in finding the most effective and efficient ways to structure early childhood interventions. "Childhood forecasting of a small segment of the population with large economic burden," a new study by IP network members Terrie Moffitt and Avshalom Caspi et al. explores this issue.
The authors integrated nationwide administrative databases and electronic medical records with the Dunedin birth cohort study to examine how childhood risks forecast adult outcomes. Their findings uncovered a portion of the population with high costs across multiple sectors, which shows the value of integrating diverse data sources. In addition, linking the adminstrative data with the Dunedin study showed "the strongest effect sizes yet." Moffitt and Caspi et al. found that childhood risks among this population could predict adult outcomes with good accuracy. If the findings are replicated elsewhere, targeted early childhood interventions could "make very large reductions in economic burden."
Moffitt is the Chair in Social Behaviour and Development at King's College London and Nannerl O. Keohane University Professor at Duke University. Avshalom Caspi is the Edward M. Arnett Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University.
The study was published in a new online journal, "Nature Human Behaviour," which currently has their first articles accessible for free online. Their findings have garnered international press, including in The Guardian and on the BBC. You can access the article here.