With funding from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), we are now completing a 27-year follow-up of young adults whose mothers participated in the study during their pregnancies and the first two years of their children's lives. This work is being conducted in collaboration with John Eckenrode, Professor of Human Development and an affiliated faculty member at Cornell University. We are interested in the young adults' life-course trajectories, including their work histories; quality of partnered relationships; involvement with the criminal justice system; parenting; and mental health and substance abuse disorders. This study also will examine the role of specific genetic polymorphisms that in previous studies have been shown to interact with environmental conditions to increase the risk for severe antisocial behavior, depression, and schizophrenia (including MAOA, 5-HTT, the dopamine transporter, and the 7 nicotinic receptor gene promoter). The work on genetic contributions to these disorders is led by Sherry Leonard, PhD, a molecular biologist in the UCD Department of Psychiatry.
With funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, we are beginning a 17-year follow-up of the children and families in the Memphis trial, looking at the children's school performance, cognitive skills, mental health, and disruptive behavior, and the life-course trajectories of the mothers. This work is being conducted in collaboration with affiliated faculty members Drs. Harriet Kitzman and Robert Cole, from the University of Rochester.
We are completing a 9-year follow-up of the children and mothers enrolled in the Denver trial. The Denver trial examines the impact of the program when delivered by paraprofessionals and by nurses. The current phase of follow-up of children aged 9 examines the impact of the paraprofessional and nurse-delivered programs on children's academic performance, cognitive skills, and mental health, and the mothers' life-course trajectories.
Dr. Carole Hanks, Associate Professor of Nursing at Baylor University, is conducting a cross-site study funded by the Department of Justice that examines the role of neighborhood context in moderating and possibly mediating program effects on maternal, child, and family functioning.