“This study is the first to establish a connection between kindergarten students’ behavior and crime-related costs when the children became adults,” said Yoon Hur, assistant research professor at Penn State’s Evidence-to-Impact Collaborative. Hur collaborated with Natalie Goulter, lecturer at Newcastle University, on statistical analyses for the study.
Approximately 42% of the students with increased behavioral problems had costs related to crimes involving violence, substance use, public order or property. Further, 45% had costs related to government services use, 41% had costs related to medical services use and 58% had costs related to any of these categories.
“Data from studies such as these can be used by local, state and national governments to inform budget planning that could support prevention where early risk for conduct problems can be determined,” Jones said. “Many studies have demonstrated that investing in young children through effective intervention can lead to economic benefits for people and public services over time.”
Other collaborators on this study included Jennifer Godwin, research scientist, Duke University; Bob McMahon, investigator, BC Children’s Hospital; Kenneth Dodge, the William McDougall Distinguished Professor of Public Policy Studies, Duke University; Jennifer Lansford, the S. Malcom Gills Distinguished Research Professor of Public Policy, Duke University; John Lochman, the Saxon Professor Emeritus, University of Alabama; John Bates, professor, psychological and brain sciences, Indiana University; Gregory S. Pettit, human sciences professor emeritus, Auburn University; and Max Crowley, professor of human development and family studies and public policy and director of the Evidence-to-Impact Collaborative and the PRC, Penn State.
The National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, U.S. Department of Education, BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute Investigator Grant and Canada Foundation for Innovation Award funded this research.