What is the Early Growth and Development Study?
The Early Growth and Development Study (EGDS) is a nationwide, prospective study of birth parents and adoptive families aimed at investigating how families can help their children develop to their fullest potential. Our study builds on emerging evidence about the relationship between heredity and the family environment — that is, nature and nurture—and how the two work together and separately in child development. This study is the first of its kind to examine such issues and general adoption issues such as openness.
The study began in 2002 with 361 sets of children, adoptive parents, and birth parents. Since then, we have followed these families and have expanded our sample. EGDS-School follows the original sample of children (Cohort I) to age 7 years with a focus on school readiness and executive functioning (basic abilities such as memory and attention). EGDS-Phase 2 includes an additional 200 sets of birth parents and adoptive families (Cohort II) to examine the influences of the prenatal environment, the family environment, and heredity on child development. EGDS-Health extends the work of the previous EGDS projects by exploring the interplay between hereditary, prenatal, and parenting influences on children’s physical growth and development. EGDS-NIMH follows both cohorts to examine pathways to the development of early emerging emotional and behavioral symptoms and to later psychiatric symptoms in middle childhood. The children in our sample are currently being assessed through age 9 years.
Please explore our website to learn more about each project, our research team, and our publications based on the data from these studies.