Anderson 1989, 1992 looked at nursery care in Sweden and found that children who attended day care were more sociable and more able to get along with peers than those who didn't attend day care.
Schindler, Moely and Frank 198 found that children who spend time in day care play more pro socially. These studies suggest that day care is good for children's social development.
DiLalla 1988 found that children spending time in day care were less cooperative and this got worse the longer they spent in day care each day.
Campbell, Lamb and Hwang 2000 carried out longitudinal study which studied the effects on children of both the quality and quantity of day care. The researchers found that children who spent long sessions in day care were less pro social than those who spend shorter sessions, children who experiences high quality care were more socially competent, social competence seemed to be stable.
Ethical - sensitivity required informed parental consent essential.
Methodological issues - prospectives can observe long term effects, baselines taken so later comparisons valid, range of measures used increases validity, conducted in Sweden where lots of funding is available for child care, therefore difficult to generalise.
Disadvantages of Day Care
Belsky 2006 carried out a similar longitudinal study in America. Observed that children in day care have enhanced cognitive abilities but tend to be more aggressive than those who haven't experienced day care. Perhaps this is because children have to fight over toys and adults attention. Such children have problems with aggression towards peers as they grow older and are less obedient to authority figures.
Claik Stweart 1990, 1992 argues that this is simply a sign that children in day care learn how to look after themselves from an earlier age and this is an advantage rather than a problem.
Borge et al 2004 found that aggression was higher in home reared children than those attending day care, quality of care is important.
Melhuis 1990 conducted a quasi experiment in London, different types of day care were compared. Different types of day care may show different types of gain for children, time spent in day care and length of day can have an effect, day care settings vary in quality individual differences will affect the experience of day care, individual differences in the parents will affect the type of care chosen.
Quality of Care
Research into attachment has been influencing child care practices since the 1950s. First major change was in the medical profession. After being shown overwhelming evidence by researchers such as James and Joyce Robertson who filmed the distress experiences by children in hospital, they gradually changed their practices so that today, parents are able to stay in hospital with their children often sleeping on a camp bed alongside them.Parents also provide most of the physical care such as washing and dressing, in terms of day care.
Bowlby's theory has led to establishments adapting key worker approach so that the child has the same carer wherever possible. This allows the child to develop a secure emotional bond with someone who cares for them outside the home.
Quality of care is also important and establishments are required by law to provide appropriate adult to child ratios depending on the age of child, small group sizes, well trained staff and incentives to ensure low staff turnover, a well structured day with plenty of activities and time to engage in free play, a happy and loving environment where home routines are followed as closely as possible.