The Impact of Default Options for Parent Participation in an Early Language Intervention




Lisa A. Gennetian, Lerzan Z. Coskun, Joy L. Kennedy, Yana Kuchirko, and J. Lawrence Aber

Brief Type

Journal Publication


  • Other Models


In this study we tested, via a randomized control study design, different enrollment options for a scaled city-wide text-based early learning program among 405 mothers who were receiving newborn home visiting services. We found that when automatically enrolled with a voluntary option to opt out, 88.7% of mothers in the experimental group stayed in the program and continued to receive the text-based content over the course of 26 weeks. In contrast, only 1% of mothers in the control group who heard about the text-based program through conventional recruitment flyers voluntarily enrolled in the program. Opt-out and opt-in patterns did not differ by characteristics typically considered as interfering with program participation: low income status, first-time motherhood status, total number of children, maternal language, flagging for depressive symptoms, and household residential instability. Findings suggest that automatic enrollment might be an effective engagement strategy for text- and similar digitally-based early childhood programs. (author abstract)

Data Collection Methods

  • Program administrative record reviews
  • Surveys or questionnaires



For More Information

Gennetian, L. A., Coskun, L. Z., Kennedy, J. L., Kuchirko, Y., & Aber, J. L. (2020). The impact of default options for parent participation in an early language intervention. Journal of Child and Family Studies29(12), 3565-3574. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-020-01838-7
Author Contact Information:
Lisa A. Gennetian


  • Participant Recruitment, Retention, Engagement, and Dosage