School Selection and Role

Learn about how the ABCD study
is recruiting participants

Hugh Garavan, Ph.D., University of Vermont

The ABCD Study aims to enroll more than 10,000 students and their families from all over the country. It is critically important that the participants in this study reflect the U.S. population of boys and girls, including children of diverse races and ethnicities, education and income levels, and living environments. To accomplish this goal, we will partner with public, private, and charter elementary schools in the continental U.S..

We have identified all of the schools within a reasonable travel distance from each research site and will be selecting a subset of the schools for enrollment. As enrollment will occur over a two-year period, we will be staggering our contact to schools so not all schools will be approached at the same time. The careful selection of schools will ensure that all demographic groups are included in the study so that the results are relevant for everyone.

Principals and administrators of partner schools will be provided with information packets about the study and will be asked to send them to families of all the 8-, 9-, and 10-year old students (at our expense), either through school folders, postal mail, or email lists. For those who are comfortable providing contact information for your students’ families to the researchers, they will contact families directly.

This is a one-time request; all further contact with students’ families will be done by the researchers outside of school hours, either by phone, in the families’ homes, or at the Study Site. No part of this study will disrupt classroom activities or add an administrative burden beyond distribution of the information packets. We would also welcome the opportunity to visit schools and give presentations to faculty, students, and/or parents about the study and on general brain development, as well as provide instructional resources and updates as the study progresses.