Examining how children’s social-emotional competence predicts administrative and monetized outcomes through early adulthood.
Jones, D., Hur, Y., Goulter, N., Dodge, K. A., Bates, J. E., Pettit, G. S., Xing, X., & Crowley, D. M. (Under Revision). Examining how children’s social-emotional competence predicts administrative and monetized outcomes through early adulthood.
Abstract: This study examined the unique associations between early childhood social-emotional skills and later outcomes representing well-being through young adulthood across several domains. An integrated data set from two projects included equivalent measures of early child functioning as well as administrative and survey data for study outcomes. Regression models were used to determine statistical linkages after controlling for other key covariates including family background, early academic functioning and study design characteristics. Results were monetized for several outcomes to provide estimates of the dollar amounts in separate outcome domains aligned with early teacher-reported social-emotional skills. We found statistically significant links between these skills and several outcomes representing future accomplishment (high school graduation, college graduation, employment wages), use of services (special education need, public assistance, healthcare/Medicaid), mental health (happiness) and crime (based on court records for arrests). The same associations were not found for either repeating grades in schools or overall substance use problems. The pattern of prediction from child social-emotional competence across multiple economically-relevant outcome domains has implications for supporting policy that is potentially cost-effective and can bolster early skills in children.