• Rand D. Conger

Corresponding author: Rand D. Conger, Department of Human Ecology, One Shields Avenue, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA 95616, email:


The Family Life Project (FLP) is the most ambitious study ever launched to chart the course of social, emotional, and cognitive development of young, rural children—beginning at birth. The present monograph describes important findings from the research through three years of age. This commentary addresses several issues raised by the authors including the need for more rural research on child development, the representativeness of the study population and retention rates, methods for measuring socioeconomic disadvantage, the implications of the findings for theoretical models of socioeconomic influences on families and children, and the guidance the current findings provide for future research, social policy, and preventive interventions. I especially emphasize the extreme poverty and disadvantage of the African American families in the study.