Now showing 1 - 2 of 2
  • Publication
    Heterogeneity in early life investments: a longitudinal analysis of children's time use
    (University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2017-01) ;
    Early life investments in children promote skills and capabilities, and subsequently influence a variety of health, social, and economic outcomes in later life. In this paper, we examine heterogeneity in children’s time use using diary data from two waves of a nationally representative longitudinal cohort study. Children from disadvantaged households spend significantly less time reading and engaging in sport than their counterparts, and more time in unstructured activities and using media. Though gaps are relatively small at age 9, they widen considerably over time. At age 13, girls in households with low maternal education spend on average 6 minutes per day reading (95% CI 3-10) and 12 minutes per day in sport (95% CI 8-16), while girls in households with high maternal education spend 14 minutes reading (95% CI 11-17) and 27 minutes in sport (95% CI 23-31). Similar differences were found for boys. Using a decomposition analysis, we find that resources, preferences, initial endowments, and differential costs all play a role in explaining time use concentration across households, indicating that disadvantaged families may be constrained in how they choose their preferred time use options. Given the important role of extra-curricular activities in promoting cognitive and non-cognitive skill development, the systematic differences in time use we document in this paper are likely to contribute to cumulative disadvantage and widening skill gaps over adolescence and into adulthood.
  • Publication
    Impact of a text messaging program on adolescent reproductive health: a cluster-randomized trial in Ghana
    (University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2017-01-12) ; ; ;
    Objectives. To evaluate whether text-messaging programs can improve reproductive health among adolescent girls in low- and middle-income countries. Methods. We conducted a cluster–randomized controlled trial among 756 female students aged 14 to 24 years in Accra, Ghana, in 2014. We randomized 38 schools to unidirectional intervention (n=12), interactive intervention (n=12), and control (n=14). The unidirectional intervention sent participants text messages with reproductive health information. The interactive intervention engaged adolescents in text-messaging reproductive health quiz games. The primary study outcome was reproductive health knowledge at 3 and 15 months. Additional outcomes included self-reported pregnancy and sexual behavior. Analysis was by intent-to-treat. Results. From baseline to 3 months, the unidirectional intervention increased knowledge by 11 percentage points (95% confidence interval [CI]=7, 15) and the interactive intervention by 24 percentage points (95% CI=19, 28), from a control baseline of 26%. Although we found no changes in reproductive health outcomes overall, both unidirectional (odds ratio [OR]=0.14; 95% CI=0.03, 0.71) and interactive interventions (OR=0.15; 95% CI=0.03, 0.86) lowered odds of self-reported pregnancy for sexually active participants. Conclusions. Text-messaging programs can lead to large improvements in reproductive health knowledge and have the potential to lower pregnancy risk for sexually active adolescent girls.