Kindergarten conduct problems are associated with monetized outcomes in adolescence and adulthood

Natalie Goulter, Yoon S. Hur, Damon E. Jones, Jennifer Godwin, Robert J. McMahon, Kenneth A. Dodge, Jennifer E. Lansford, John E. Lochman, John E. Bates, Gregory S. Pettit, D. Max Crowley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Across several sites in the United States, we examined whether kindergarten conduct problems among mostly population-representative samples of children were associated with increased criminal and related (criminal + lost offender productivity + victim; described as criminal + victim hereafter) costs across adolescence and adulthood, as well as government and medical services costs in adulthood. Methods: Participants (N = 1,339) were from two multisite longitudinal studies: Fast Track (n = 754) and the Child Development Project (n = 585). Parents and teachers reported on kindergarten conduct problems, administrative and national database records yielded indexes of criminal offending, and participants self-reported their government and medical service use. Outcomes were assigned costs, and significant associations were adjusted for inflation to determine USD 2020 costs. Results: A 1SD increase in kindergarten conduct problems was associated with a $21,934 increase in adolescent criminal + victim costs, a $63,998 increase in adult criminal + victim costs, a $12,753 increase in medical services costs, and a $146,279 increase in total costs. In the male sample, a 1SD increase in kindergarten conduct problems was associated with a $28,530 increase in adolescent criminal + victim costs, a $58,872 increase in adult criminal + victim costs, and a $144,140 increase in total costs. In the female sample, a 1SD increase in kindergarten conduct problems was associated with a $15,481 increase in adolescent criminal + victim costs, a $62,916 increase in adult criminal + victim costs, a $24,105 increase in medical services costs, and a $144,823 increase in total costs. Conclusions: This investigation provides evidence of the long-term costs associated with early-starting conduct problems, which is important information that can be used by policymakers to support research and programs investing in a strong start for children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)328-339
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines
Volume65
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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