Monitor on Psychology - January 2012 - (Page 12)

upfront Early investments pay off for poor children, study finds Ton Koene/visuals Unlimited/Corbis Poverty keeps more than 200 million children from reaching their potential, but early interventions can change that, psychologists say. Many of the world’s poorest countries lack basic services for young children, and finding the resources to send children to preschool is a struggle. But the benefits greatly outweigh the costs, according to a new study on early childhood developmental interventions. Low- and middle-income countries that managed to enroll 25 percent to 50 percent of their children in preschool would recoup $6.40 to $17.60 for every dollar invested, the researchers estimate. The study is part of a two-paper series, published in October in the journal The Lancet. It looked at how inequalities that begin in the womb and continue through early childhood — such as malnutrition, disease, maternal depression and lack of access to early child development programs — can continue to affect children throughout their lives, and even into the next generation. Poverty-related problems keep more than 200 million children around the world from meeting their developmental potential, the same researchers found in a 2007 Lancet series. In the new series, they examine the root causes of those disparities, and how early interventions can help. “What happens over time is that there are basically two tracks. A lower track that is less optimal and a higher track that is more optimal,” says Maureen Black, PhD, a psychologist at University of Maryland School of Medicine and one of the study’s authors. “And over time, the gap [between the two] 12 widens.” The child on the lower track is less likely to go to school, to benefit from school and eventually to earn good wages. But, Black says, the research shows that early interventions can reduce the gap between the two tracks. The researchers reviewed the literature on 42 such programs from around the globe, such as preschool, parental education programs and nutrition education programs. The study’s authors are an interdisciplinary consortium of pediatricians, psychologists, economists and others called the Global Child Development Group. The great challenge in reaching the 200 million children at risk, the researchers say, will be in figuring out how to expand interventions that have worked on a small scale, finding the funding to do so and coordinating among the many government agencies — education, social services and others — that could deliver them. “The publication in the Lancet is not an endpiece, it’s a mechanism,” says Black. “It gives us more credibility to push for the endpiece, which is evidence-based, high-quality programs for kids that are taken up by governments.” —L. WiNERMAN Watch a video of the researchers presenting their study at a World Bank event at http:// M o n i t o r o n p s y c h o l o g y • J a n u a ry 2 0 1 2

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Monitor on Psychology - January 2012

Monitor on Psychology - January 2012
President’s Column
From the CEO
Apa’s Statement on the Dsm-5 Development Process
Girl Scouts Badge Promotes Positive Psychology
Early Investments Pay Off for Poor Children, Study Finds
Apa Meets With Chinese Psychological Society to Further Interaction and Exchange
Unique Opportunity for Psychologists to Travel to Cuba
In Brief
Government Relations Update
On Your Behalf
Psychology’s Growing Library of Podcasts
Standing Up for Psychology
Judicial Notebook
Random Sample
Time Capsule
Science Watch
Beyond Psychotherapy
Perspective on Practice
Yes, Recovery Is Possible
Inequity to Equity
Making E-Learning Work
New Standards for High School Psychology
A Trailblazer Moves On
Psychologist Profile
Plan Now for Psychology’s Regional Meetings
New Journal Editors
Apa News
Division Spotlight
American Psychological Foundation

Monitor on Psychology - January 2012