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Keeping Kids on Track: Impacts of a Parenting-Focused Early Head Start Program on Attachment Security and Cognitive Development
Early Education and Development
  • Lori A. Roggman, Utah State University
  • Lisa Boyce, Utah State University
  • G. A. Cook
Document Type
Taylor and Francis
Publication Date

Research Findings: The home-based Early Head Start program in this local study aimed to promote children's early attachment and cognitive development by establishing supportive relationships with parents and guiding responsive parenting and positive parent–child play interactions. To test the effectiveness of this approach, we studied the development of secure base behavior and cognitive skills in infants and toddlers from low-income families in northern Utah and southern Idaho who had been randomly assigned to the program or a comparison group. Analyses covaried the main risk factors of low maternal education (associated with the children's lower cognitive scores) and maternal depression (associated with both lower cognitive scores and lower attachment security scores). Significant impacts of this Early Head Start program over and above earlier assessments and risk variables were evident by 18 months in children's attachment security scores and by 36 months in children's cognitive standard scores. Practice or Policy: The results of this study support the effectiveness of focusing on parenting to support children's early development. Home-visiting programs such as this one can keep children's early development on track by providing parenting-focused home visits that help parents support their children's early development.


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Citation Information
Roggman, L. A., Boyce, L. K., & Cook, G. A. (2009). Keeping kids on track: Impacts of a parenting-focused Early Head Start program on attachment security and cognitive development. Early Education & Development, 20(6), 920–941.