U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

A Population-Level Approach to Promoting Healthy Child Development and School Success in Low-Income, Urban Neighborhoods: Impact on Parenting and Child Conduct Problems

NCJ Number
Prevention Science Volume: 16 Issue: 2 Dated: February 2015 Pages: 279-290
Spring Dawson-McClure; Esther J. Calzada; Keng-Yen Huang; Dimitra Kamboukos; Dana Rhule; Bukky Kolawole; Eva Petkova; Laurie M. Brotman
Date Published
February 2015
12 pages

Since minority children living in disadvantaged neighborhoods are at high risk for school dropout, delinquency, and poor health, largely due to the negative impact of poverty and stress on parenting and child development, this article reports on a study that evaluated a population-level, family-centered, school-based intervention designed to promote learning, behavior and health by strengthening parenting, early childhood classroom quality, and child self-regulation during early childhood.


Ten schools in urban districts serving primarily low-income Black students were randomly assigned to intervention or a "pre-kindergarten education as usual" control condition. Intervention included a family program (13-week behavioral parenting intervention and concurrent group for children) and professional development for early childhood teachers. The majority (88 percent) of the pre-kindergarten population (N -1,050; age 4) enrolled in the trial, and nearly 60 percent of parents in intervention schools participated in the family program. This study evaluated intervention impact on parenting (knowledge, positive behavior support, behavior management, involvement in early learning) and child conduct problems over a 2-year period (end of kindergarten). Intent-to-treat analyses found intervention effects on knowledge, positive behavioral support, and teacher-rated parent involvement in early learning. For the highest-risk families, intervention also resulted in increased parent-rated involvement in early learning and decreased harsh and inconsistent behavior management. Among boys at high risk for problems based on baseline behavioral dysregulation (age 4, 23 percent of sample), intervention led to lower rates of conduct problems at age 6. The study concluded that Family-centered intervention at the transition to school has potential to improve population health and break the cycle of disadvantage for low-income, minority families. 2 tables, 2 figures, and 41 references (publisher abstract modified)