Breaking the Cycle: Longitudinal Study Finds Success Factors for Baltimore Inner-City Youths

Monograph on findings from a longitudinal study of economically disadvantaged families to determine health outcomes in adulthood
    • October 1, 2000

Starting in April 1992, researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, carried out a study that examined the question of why some disadvantaged, inner-city children do well and become self-sufficient adults while others do not.

The study supplemented data collected from 1959 to 1974 on low-income Baltimore mothers and their children participating in the Johns Hopkins Collaborative Perinatal Study.

Researchers collected information on a random sample of 2,306 original participants, 2,694 of their children, and 2,250 grandchildren, 203 of whom were assessed.

Key Findings

  • A majority of the second-generation children studied (the grandchildren of the mothers in the study) became self-sufficient adults.

  • A mother's educational attainment influences the educational attainment of her children when the children are at risk for dropping out of high school.

  • Second-generation children had higher educational attainment than their mothers.

  • Children of older mothers (25 years and above) were most likely to be self-sufficient as adults and those of teenage mothers the least.

    • Children of teenage mothers were more likely to have children as teenagers.

    The full data set is available for public use through the University of Michigan's Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research.