Subject: Studies in the News 04-46 (July 6, 2004)

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Studies in the News
Children and Family Supplement

Contents This Week

Introductory Material EDUCATION
   Early reading assessment tools
   Universal preschool debate
   Early childhood programs and evaluation
   Developing early literacy
   Health initiative in Santa Clara County
   Air pollution's effect on the fetus
   Insurance status and preschooler vaccination
   Preschools and physical activity
   Multisensory world of the infant
   Infant attachment and prenatal drug use
   Maternal employment and children's nutrition
   Families, depression, violence and substance abuse
   Infant-mother attachment and child care
   Evolving images of children
   Child development from 3 to 6
   Preschoolers and English as a second language
   Assessing and improving children's health
   Food insecurity and health outcomes of children
   Screening for depression in young children
Introduction to Studies in the News

Studies in the News: Children and Family Supplement is a service provided to the First 5 California by the California State Library. The service features weekly lists of current articles focusing on Children and Family policy. Prior lists can be viewed from the California State Library's Web site at

How to Obtain Materials Listed in SITN:

  • When available on the Internet, the URL for the full-text of each item is provided.

  • California State Employees may contact the State Information & Reference Center (916-654-0206; with the SITN issue number and the item number [S#].

  • All other interested individuals should contact their local library - the items may be available there, or may be borrowed by your local library on your behalf.

The following studies are currently on hand:



"Early Reading Assessment: A Practitioner's Handbook." By Natalie Rathvon. (The Guilford Press, New York, New York) 2004. 612 p.

["This practitioner-oriented book serves as a guide to the complex field of early reading assessment. Provided are practical tools for screening and assessing K-2 students at risk for reading problems and evaluating the effectiveness of interventions." NOTE: Early Reading Assessment ... is available for 3-day loan.]

[Request #S3389]

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The Universal vs. Targeted Debate: Should the United States Have Preschool for All? By Steven Barnett and others. Preschool Policy Matters. (National Institute for Early Education Research, New Brunswick, New Jersey) 2004. 16 p.

Full Text at:

["Targeted preschool programs miss many children for whom they were developed - and kids just above the eligibility levels miss out altogether. Should public funds be used to pick up where targeted programs leave off and offer preschool for all? The possibilities - and pitfalls - are explored in this policy brief."]

[Request #S3390]

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Early Childhood Programs and Evaluation [Issue Theme.] IN: The Evaluation Exchange, vol. 10, no. 2 (Summer 2004) 32 p.

Full Text at:

["This issue charts the course of early childhood programming and evaluation over nearly half a century. Contributing authors offer a range of views on how best to communicate the importance of investing in a child's early years and how to improve early childhood programs and policies. Several articles consider the explosion of science -- from longitudinal studies of child outcomes to a large-scale demonstration program -- that has helped forward our understanding of how young children learn and grow. Finally, a number of articles suggest that better information is needed to close the persistent gap in achievement between children from low-income families and those from middle-income homes."]

[Request #S3391]

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Building a Foundation for Preschool Literacy: Effective Instruction for Children's Reading and Writing Development. By Carol Vukelich and James Christie. (International Reading Association, Newark, Delaware) 2004. 79 p.

["Early literacy has been thrust into the education spotlight with a flurry of recent research and U.S. federal initiatives focused on early reading and writing. Now, more that ever, preschool teachers feel mounting pressure to increase children's literacy development. This book provides the latest information on topics to help develop this kind of instruction." NOTE: Building a Foundation ... is available for 3-day loan.]

[Request #S3392]

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"Expanding Coverage for Children: The Santa Clara County Children's Health Initiative." By Christopher Trenholm. Prepared for The David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Issue Brief. No. 3. (Mathematica Policy Research, Princeton, New Jersey) June 2004. 4 p.

["Health Initiative Working, Study Says: Santa Clara County's Children's Initiative has proven far more successful than expected, providing insurance coverage for more than 29,000 youngsters in its first two years, according to an analysis of the program. Launched 3 1/2 years ago to extend health coverage to uninsured children, the initiative spurred large enrollment increases for two major public health programs funded by state and federal governments -- Medi-Cal and Healthy Families." Mercury News (June 14, 2004) 1.]

[Request #S3396]

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"Biomarkers in Maternal and Newborn Blood Indicate Heightened Fetal Susceptibility to Procarcinogenic DNA Damage." By Frederica P. Perera and others, Columbia University. IN: Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 112, no. 10 (July 2004) pp. 1133-1136.

Full Text at:

["This study of the effects of combustion-related air pollutants in New York City reveals that babies in the womb are more susceptible than their mothers to DNA damage from such pollution. Despite the protection provided by the placenta, which reduces the fetal dose to an estimated one-tenth the dose of the mother, the levels of DNA damage were similar in the newborns and their mothers. This finding is especially notable, since evidence from previous studies of laboratory rodents suggests that the fetus is more sensitive to the carcinogenic effects of the same pollutants than the adult."]

Rebecca - Please capture the article and delete the URL. Thanks. VN 6/23/04

[Request #S3393]

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"Insurance Status and Vaccination Coverage Among U.S. Preschool Children." By Jeanne M. Santoli and others. IN: Pediatrics, vol. 113, no. 6 (June 2004) pp. 1959-1964.

["Insurance status has been shown to have an impact on children's use of preventive and acute health services. The objective of this study was to determine the relationship between insurance status and vaccination coverage among US preschool children aged 19 to 35 months."]

[Request #S3395]

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"Influences of Preschool Policies and Practices on Children's Physical Activity." By Marsha Dowda, University of South Carolina, and others. IN: Journal of Community Health, vol. 29, no. 3 (June 2004) pp. 183-196.

["Recent increases in the prevalence of overweight and obesity in preschool and school-age children constitute a significant and growing public health problem. The purpose of this study was to determine if physical activity levels of preschool children vary with differences in policies/practices, and overall quality of preschools. It found that children in preschools that reported four or more physical activity-related field trips per month spent more time in MVPA (moderate to vigorous physical activity) than children in preschools that participated in fewer trips; preschools that offer more trips for activity may have social and physical environments that encourage more active play both indoors and on the playground; and that children in preschools that had more college-educated teachers spent significantly more observed time in MVPA while on the playground, as compared to children in preschools where fewer of the teachers had college degrees."]

[Request #S3394]

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The Multisensory World of the Infant [Issue Theme.] IN: Zero to Three: Journal of ZERO TO THREE: National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families, vol. 24, no. 5 (May 2004) pp. 1-55.

[Includes: "Studying the Infant's Multisensory Environment: A Bridge between Biology and Psychology - An Interview with Myron Hofer;" "Neuroception: A Subconscious System for Detecting Threats and Safety;" "Telling Their Stories: Representation and Reenactment of Traumatic Experiences Occurring in the First Year of Life;" and others. NOTE: Zero to Three is available for 3-day loan.]

[Request #S3397]

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"Attachment Status in Children Prenatally Exposed to Cocaine and Other Substances." By Ronald Seifer and others. IN: Child Development, vol. 75, no. 3 (May/June 2004) pp. 850-868.

["Attachment status of children exposed in utero to cocaine, opiates, and other substances was examined at 18 months and 36 months. Children exposed to cocaine and opiates had slightly lower rates of attachment security (but not disorganization), and their insecurity was skewed toward ambivalent, rather than avoidant, strategies. Continued postnatal alcohol use was associated with higher rates of insecurity and disorganization at 18, but not 36 months of age. Stability of attachment across the 18-month period was barely above chance expectation. Attachment status at 18 months was associated with child temperament and caregiver - child interaction; at 36 moths, attachment was associated with child temperament, child behavior problems, and caregivers' parenting self-esteem."]

[Request #S3398]

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Maternal Employment and Children’s Nutrition. By Mary Kay Crepinsek and Nancy R. Burstein, Abt Associates. The Economics of Food, Farming, Natural Resources, and Rural America. E-FAN-04-006-1. (Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC) June 2004.

["A majority of U.S. women with children are now employed outside the home. This study used mid-1990s data to explore the effects of mothers’ work on their children’s nutrition. Findings include the following: Children of full-time working mothers have lower overall HEI (Healthy Eating Index) scores, lower intake of iron and fiber, and higher intake of soda and fried potatoes than children of nonworking mothers (volume I); and the higher income of households with working mothers is related to their children’s lower participation in most of USDA’s food assistance programs, the exception being the National School Lunch Program (volume II)."]

Maternal Employment and Children's Nutrition: Volume I, Diet Quality and the Role of the CACFP. 153 p.:

Maternal Employment and Children's Nutrition: Volume II, Other Nutrition-Related Outcomes. 72 p.:

[Request #S3399]

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Depression, Substance Abuse, and Domestic Violence: Little is Known About Co-Occurrence and Combined Effects on Low-Income Families. By Sharmila Lawrence and others, National Center for Children in Poverty, Columbia University. (The Center, New York, New York) June 2004. 11 p.

Full Text at:

["Depression, domestic violence, and substance abuse have deleterious effects on both parents and children. These problems affect parenting and serve as barriers to employment, which in turn limit the social and cognitive development of children. While more attention is now focused on vulnerable populations, there is still inadequate attention to interventions that specifically address children in these families. The authors believe that what is critically needed are two-generation strategies that address both the needs of adults and children simultaneously and address the co-occurrence of these issues among vulnerable families."]

[Request #S3400]

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"Transition to Child Care: Associations with Infant-Mother Attachment, Infant Negative Emotion, and Cortisol Elevations." By Lieselotte Ahnert and others. IN: Child Development, vol. 75, no. 3 (May/June 2004) pp. 639-650.

["Seventy 15-month-old infants were studied at home before starting child care, during adaptation (mothers present) and separation (first 9 days without mothers) phases, and 5 months later. Security of infant-mother attachment was assessed before and 3 months after child care began. In the separation phase, salivary cortisol rose over the first 60 minutes following the mothers' departures to levels that were 75% to 100% higher than at home. Compared with insecure infants, secure infants had markedly lower cortisol levels during the adaptation phase and higher fuss and cry levels during the separation phase, and their fuss and cry levels were significantly correlated with their cortisol levels. Attachments remained secure or became secure if mothers spent more days adapting their children to child care."]

[Request #S3401]

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Picturing Childhood: The Myth of the Child in Popular Imagery. By Patricia Holland. (I.B. Tauris, New York, New York) 2004. 215 p.

["Whether controversial or taken for granted, pictures of children are everywhere - in glossy magazines, newspapers and advertisements, on greeting cards, brochures, catalogues, charity appeals and the Internet. Using visuals from many and diverse sources, this book demonstrates how these familiar images reveal a view of childhood which is constantly changing." NOTE: Picturing Childhood ... is available for 3-day loan.]

[Request #S3402]

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Touchpoints 3 to 6: Your Child's Emotional and Behavioral Development. By T. Berry Brazelton and Joshua D. Sparrow. (Perseus Publishing, Boulder, Colorado) 2002. 502 p.

["This book offers a simple theory and sound advice to parents who struggle with their child's ever-changing moods and behaviors. It offers suggestions for recognizing key touchpoints in children 3 to 6 years old, helping kids work through them, and keeping one's cool throughout the process." NOTE: Touchpoints 3 to 6 ... is available for 3-day loan.]

[Request #S3403]

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[The following studies, reports, and documents have been ordered or requested, but have not yet arrived. Requests may be placed, and copies will be provided when the material arrives.]



"Relationships Among Preschool English Language Learner’s Oral Proficiency in English, Instructional Experience and Literacy Development." By Theresa Roberts and Harriet Neal, California State University, Sacramento. IN: Contemporary Educational Psychology, vol. 29, issue 3 (July 2004) pp. 283-311.

["In this study, a theoretically driven literacy intervention was implemented to test the efficacy of explicit instruction for preschool English learners and to examine the influence of English oral proficiency on response to instruction. English learners have traditionally been at risk for reading difficulty and their at-risk status is at least partially determined by their literacy competencies prior to kindergarten entry. Evidence on ways to enhance foundational literacy skills in preschool for children from low-income families learning English as a second language is therefore especially important."]

[Request #S3404]

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Children's Health, the Nation's Wealth: Assessing and Improving Child Health. By the Committee on Evaluation of Children's Health, National Research Council and Institute of Medicine. (National Academies Press, Washington DC) 2004. 210 p.

Full Text at:

["This new report recommends that to ensure healthy children and create a healthy nation, policymakers should revise and prioritize children's health and surveillance monitoring systems to adopt a broader view of children's health and innovative research methodologies." NOTE: Children's Health ... will be available for 3-day loan.]

[Request #S3405]

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"Food Insecurity is Associated with Adverse Health Outcomes Among Human Infants and Toddlers." By J.T. Cook and others. IN: Journal of Nutrition, vol. 134, no. 6 (June 2004) pp. 1432-1438.

["The purpose of this study was to determine whether household food insecurity is associated with adverse health outcomes in infants and toddlers 3 years of age or younger. Outcome measures included child's health status, hospitalization history, whether child was admitted to hospital via emergency department visit, and a composite growth-risk variable. Analysis shows that food-insecure children had odds of 'fair or poor' health nearly twice as great than food-secure children and had odds of being hospitalized since birth almost a third larger than food-secure children." Center on Hunger and Poverty - Food Security Research Update (June 10, 2004) listserv.]

[Request #S3406]

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"The Preschool Feelings Checklist: A Brief and Sensitive Screening Measure for Depression in Young Children." By J.L. Luby and others. IN: Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, vol. 43, no. 6 (June 2004) pp. 708-717.

["The authors point out that evidence is now available demonstrating that children as young as age 3 can experience a clinically significant episode of major depressive disorder (MDD) and that this highlights the need for a validated brief and feasible screening tool to capture young children from the general population who are in need of a clinical evaluation. In the study described in this article, the authors sought to develop and test the criterion validity (i.e., ability to discriminate between young children with and without a disorder) of a very brief checklist specifically designed to identify MDD in young children in community settings." Maternal and Child Health Alert (June 18, 2004) listserv.]

[Request #S3407]

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