NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development, Phase IV

Investigators: Deborah Lowe Vandell, Kim Pierce

Funding: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

The NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development, Phase IV was a prospective, longitudinal study of a cohort of 1,364 adolescents and their families at 10 research sites, first enrolled at one month of age and studied intensively through sixth grade in Phases I-III of the study. Phase IV followed the adolescents through 15 years of age. The study was guided by a broad ecological framework that considered early child care experiences, qualities of parenting, the home environment, the peer group, and the school context as well as social structure and demography.

The primary aims of Phase IV were to (1) investigate how earlier functioning and experiences, in concert with contextual and maturational factors in adolescence, influence social relationships, health, adjustment, and intellectual and academic development during middle adolescence; and (2) extend into middle adolescence an intensive and extensive study of patterns of health and human development from infancy onward, which can be used by the broader scientific community to study a wide range of basic and applied questions.

A number of questions and hypotheses were and continue to be investigated in each of seven specific areas of inquiry: (1) developmental legacy of early child care experiences, (2) parent-child relationships and adolescent development, (3) relationships with peers and adolescent development, (4) influence of neighborhood and out-of-school contexts on adolescent development, (5) physical health and development, (6) antecedents and correlates of maladjustment and adjustment, and (7) schooling, achievement, and cognitive development.

For more information about this study, visit or the national study web site at