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Citation:Leventhal, T., Brooks-Gunn, J., McCormick, M. C., & McCarton, C. M. (2000). Patterns of service use in preschool children: Correlates, consequences, and the role of early intervention. Child Development, 71 (3), 802-819.

Annotation:
The purpose of this study is to provide a more comprehensive perspective on factors that influence the use of services among families with preschool children who were premature. This is discussed in terms of prevention, responsiveness, and deficit approaches to service use. The Infant Health and Development program is a comprehensive early intervention for low-birth-weight, premature infants. The control group received pediatric care while the intervention group received high-quality child care, family support services, and pediatric care. Researchers investigated patterns of service use and correlates, associations between service use and child outcomes at age 5, and intervention effects on service use. Results indicated that patterns of use are consistent over time, but that participation in the intervention was not associated with service use. Factors that were associated with patterns of use were neonatal health, maternal education, child development at age 3, maternal health, family income, and insurance status. Service use was also associated with child well-being (health school readiness and mental health). The sample included 869 children who participated in the Infant Health and Development program. Families were randomly assigned to intervention or control groups. Participants were contacted at the birthing hospital. Eight hospitals were included from across the United States. Mothers tended to be African American, young, low-income, and have low levels of education. Measures included baseline child characteristics (birth weight, gender, health index), baseline maternal characteristics (education, age, race), service use in the first 3 years of life, child development at age 3 (cognitive, socioemotional, physical health), family income at age 5, maternal health at age 5, insurance status, service use at age 5, and child development at age 5. Since there is a significant difference between African American students and all other demographic groups the findings may not be generalizable to other populations and school contexts.

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