New England Family Study

Mission Statement

The New England Family Study (NEFS) is a longitudinal investigation aimed at identifying obstetric and genetic risk factors for neuropsychiatric and other medical disorders with developmental origins, including schizophrenia, bipolar and major affective disorders, substance use, learning disabilities, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and cardiovascular disease. This historic project is a follow-up study to the National Collaborative Perinatal Project (NCPP), which was conducted during the 1960s in twelve cities throughout the United States. A community-based birth-cohort study, the original NCPP enrolled and followed about 60,000 pregnant women and their children. The children, followed from birth through age 7, were assessed periodically for physical and mental health status and a series of cognitive, behavioral and social outcomes. A wealth of data was generated from this study; hundreds of articles have been published on a wide range of topics regarding health and development.

The primary goal of the current study is to improve understanding of the effects of pregnancy and birth complications on neuropsychiatric disorders, and ultimately, to improve preventive and intervention efforts with these disorders. Previously known as the Harvard-Brown Collaborative Project, the title "New England Family Study" (NEFS) originated in the year 2000, and refers to the collective activities currently being conducted with the NCPP cohort in Boston and Providence . The new name was chosen to reflect the collaborative relationship of the two sites, easily identify the study group, and foster a sense of membership and pride among cohort participants. This unique cohort offers a rare opportunity for epidemiological investigation into neuropsychiatric and medical disorders; with the help of cohort members, the NEFS will continue this longitudinal follow-up study of health and development for years to come.