Skip to main content

Abecedarian Project

  • Reference work entry
  • 737 Accesses


Early intervention; Prevention of mental retardation


The Abecedarian Project was an early intervention project conducted by Craig Ramey and Francis Campbell on a mostly African-American sample of children at-risk for academic failure. The children have been followed from preschool into early adulthood with positive intellectual results.


Ramey and Campbell conducted a prospective longitudinal study on approximately 50 children born between 1972 and 1977 [1]. The children were considered to be at risk for intellectual delays and academic problems because they were born to mostly young single mothers living in poverty. Children were screened for inclusion based on the number of risk factors they faced, including low parental education, father absence, receiving welfare, etc. The researchers randomly assigned 50+ matched children to a no-intervention control group as well. The goal of the preventive intervention was to prevent cognitive delay or...

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-0-387-79061-9_10
  • Chapter length: 2 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
USD   949.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-0-387-79061-9
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Hardcover Book
USD   999.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)


  1. Campbell, F. A., Ramey, C. T., Pungello, E., Sparling, J., & Miller-Johnson, S. (2002). Early childhood education: Young adult outcomes from the Abecedarian Project. Applied Developmental Science, 6, 42–57.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Clarke, S. H., & Campbell, F. A. (1998). Can intervention early prevent crime later? The Abecedarian project compared with other programs. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 13, 319–343.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Ramey, C. T., & Campbell, F. A. (1984). Preventive education for high-risk children: Cognitive consequences of the Carolina Abecedarian Project. American Journal of Mental Deficiency, 88, 515–523.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. Ramey, C. T., Campbell, F. A., & Blair, C. (1998). Enhancing the life course for high-risk children: Results from the Abecedarian project. In J. Crane (Ed.), Social programs that work (pp. 163–183). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC

About this entry

Cite this entry

Howe, T.R. (2011). Abecedarian Project. In: Goldstein, S., Naglieri, J.A. (eds) Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development. Springer, Boston, MA.

Download citation