Child Birth Order as a Moderator of Intervention Effectiveness for the Early Childhood Version of the Family Check-Up

Abstract

Child birth order (CBO) in the family has received little attention in the field of prevention science. CBO is relevant to early interventionists from a public health perspective, as the most widely disseminated home-visiting program has traditionally targeted mothers and their first-born children. The current paper revisits a previous publication by Shaw et al. (2009) on the effectiveness of the Family Check-Up (FCU) to evaluate CBO (firstborn vs. middle vs. youngest) as a moderator of treatment effects of the FCU in relation to improvements in parenting, maternal depressive symptoms, and child outcomes from ages 2 to 4 in a sample of low-income, ethnically diverse families (N = 709) with multiple children. Results suggest that the FCU elicited improvements in observed parenting from ages 2 to 3 primarily for target children who were the youngest or middle children, but not for firstborns. Findings are discussed in the context of implications for prevention science research, dissemination, and public policy.

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Funding

This research was supported by grant DA16110 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to Drs. Dishion, Wilson, and Shaw and grant DA22773 to Dr. Shaw.

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Correspondence to Chelsea M. Weaver Krug.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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All procedures performed in the current study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Note that coauthor Dishion was a co-developer of the Family Check-Up.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Weaver Krug, C.M., Hails, K.A., Shaw, D.S. et al. Child Birth Order as a Moderator of Intervention Effectiveness for the Early Childhood Version of the Family Check-Up. Prev Sci 21, 456–466 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11121-020-01096-5

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Keywords

  • Child birth order
  • Early intervention
  • Family-based intervention
  • Parenting
  • Child conduct problems