To assess whether younger siblings of participants in an early (preschool) educational program would benefit in terms of developmental and educational outcomes.
Assessment of a cohort of siblings of intervention participants at a mean age of 13.5 years.
The Infant Health and Development Program (IHDP), an 8-site randomized trial of 3 years of early education for premature low-birth-weight infants who were followed up through 18 years of age.
Siblings born within 5 years of the IHDP study participants.
A sibling born no more than 5 years earlier who participated in the IHDP.
Main Outcome Measures
Observed IQ; youth report of behavioral problems, their expectations of future success, and their relationship with their parents; and the caregiver's report on the youth's school progress and their expectations of the youth's educational attainment.
Of 878 IHDP participants who were followed up, 466 (53.1%) had an eligible younger sibling, and 229 of those siblings (49.1%) agreed to participate. No differences were seen between the siblings of those who did and did not receive the IHDP intervention on any of the outcome measures. Adjusting for maternal race/ethnicity, age, and educational attainment at the birth of the study participant; study site; sex of the sibling; and losses to the cohort did not alter the results.
Participation in an early educational program confers no apparent benefit on younger siblings in their early adolescent years.