Study published by The Child Development Research Group at the University of the West Indies (UWI) has found that early childhood stimulation can reduce violent behaviour in adulthood. This finding has important implications for countries like Jamaica whose crime levels are high. Early intervention and prevention are key as the research highlights and further evidence that early childhood interventions and programmes are key to national growth and development.
The study involved 129 growth-retarded children aged nine to 24 months, living in inner-city communities in Kingston, Jamaica, in a two-year trial of nutritional supplementation (1kg milk-based formula per week) and/or psychosocial stimulation (weekly play sessions to improve mother-child interaction).
When the intelligence quotient (IQ), educational attainment, and behaviour of the children were assessed at 22 years old, the research group found that participants who received stimulation reported less involvement in fights and in serious violent behaviour than did participants who received no stimulation during childhood.
The stimulation children also had higher adult IQ, higher educational attainment, better general knowledge, and fewer symptoms of depression and social inhibition.