Day Care

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Campbell, Lamb and Hwang (2000) - Method

AO1: Longitudual study of children who attended day care continously from 18months to 3.5 years.

- 9 attended family based care, 30 attended nursery, and 9 switched from family based care to nursery based care during study.

- Compared with children whose parents had applied to day care but did not obtain places due to compititon. 

- Assesed firstly at 18 months at home playing with familiar peers. Quality of home environment also measured. 

- Assesments of chol in family and day care settings repeated at 2.5 years and 3.5 years.

- At 6.5 years social skills assesed by caregiver. At 8.5 years teachers asked to give opinions of childs behaviour.

- At 15 years the children completed self report measurements on social development and friendship quality.

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Campbell, Lamb and Hwang (2000) - Results

AO1: 1) Children who spent long days in daycare were less socially competent than those who attended more days per week but for shorter days were more socially competent.

2) This is because small children who experience long days become tired and frustated having shared adult attention for so long leading to more negative interactions with children.

3) Those who attend shorter days have gain more social benefits.

4) Those who attended high quality day care had better social abilities.

5) Soical compentence stayed stable from3.5yearsto 15 years suggesting social skills are developed around age of 3.5 and remain relatively constant.

6) Strongly suggests godp quality day care for children up 3.5 yrars is importantin development of social skilsl and constant through childhood and adolescence.

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Campbell, Lamb and Hwang (2000) - Evaluation


Followed children from 18 months to adolescence. Allows us to see much longer effects of daycare.

All children who took part were assessed before they starteddaycare providing clear baseline.

Researchers used a range ofmeasurementsto assess each childs social competenceincluding reoirts frin teacgers, play workers and selfreports. Data from range of people provides richdetailed pciture of childs social ability.

Study considered day care in sweden which is well funded. May be difficult to apply this in toehr countries where nurseries are less funded.

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Brief Studies on Nurseries

Kagan Nursery Care in Boston - No effect

  •  Studied 33 infants in day care mathced with a control group that stayed at home.
  • Assesed for two years in their cognitive achievement and social development.
  • No Large differences between two group.

Study in Texas (1990) - Poor peer relationship and Emotional Health

  • Found children in extensive day care were rated by parents and teachers as having poor peer relationship and emotional helth.
  • Could be because at timein texas they had low requirements for childcare facilitioes and carers were and untrained and child carer ratios were high.
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More Brief Daycare points

Andersson 1989/92  Found children that attended day care were more sociable and out going and had better social skills than those who did not attend daycare.  

Clarke Stewart 1991  Found those who attended day care had better scoical evelopment than those looked after in a family setting.

Moely and Frank 1998  Found children who spend more time in day care played more prosocially with other children.

Field et al 1988  Argued that children who attend full time day care play more cooperatively than thosewho attend part time.

DiLalla 1988  Found negative correlation between amount of time in daycare and amount of pro social development  

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Melhuish 1990 - Comparing Different types of dayca

- Quasi-experimental research. Relavatives, childminders and private nurseries comparied.

- Relatives had highest adult to child ratio and nurseries lowest. 

- Contact with children was highest in nursery and lowest with relatives. 

- Assessed at 18months and 3years.

- Found wuth relatives they had highest language skills developed and lowest language skills developed was at nursery.

- This could be because relatives engagermore fully with child with more complex language strengthening their cognitive skills.

- Children in nursery were highest in pro-social behaviour and children with relatives were lowest. 

- This is because children in daycare will spend more time in presence of other children strengthing their social skills.

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Effects on Aggression

Violata and Russell

  • Conducted meta-analysis on 88 studies and condluded regualr day care for more than 20 hours per week outlined negative effect on social development.

NICHD (2003) 

  • Followed progress of more than 1000 children since 1991.
  • It distinguished between quality of care, quantity of care and type of care.
  • Found more time spent in day care of any kind or quality from birthto 4.5 years were rated more aggressive at home and school.
  • Children in full time day care were almost threetimes more likely to show behaviour problems then those acared for by thier mothers at home.
  • Time a child spends in day care is a crucial variable. 
  • FIndings support Bowlby who predicted increased aggression as result of repeated separations from attachment figure.
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Effects on Peer Relations

Andersson (1989) 

  • Followed 119 swedishchildren fromthie rfirst year of life until 8 years old. 
  • Found children who started ay care beforeof one and spent at least 25 hoursper week in day carewere rated by teachers as having greater socilal skills than children who began later or did not experience day care.

Clarke - Stewart

  • Studied 150 children from Chicago between 2 and 3 years from various social backgrounds. Found that children in daycare had advanced peer relatoinships and were more scoiable.

Di Lalla (1988) 

  • Found children who spent more time in day care were less cooperative and helpful intheir relationships with other children.
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Evaluation of Daycare effects on agression

1) Results are often contradictory because studies have investigated different variables including 1 - duration of care on hours per week, 2 - quality of care, 3 - age of child. Thus it is difficult to compare studies.

2) Effects of day care are complicated by number of variables so diffiuclt to identify social effects that are the results of day care and those that are results of other variable e.g. income, mother's sensitivity, physical deprivation etc.

3) Many of studies are correlationale.g. number ofhours in day careand rations ofaffressive behaviour. However does not demonstrate cause, just a relationship. For example parents who work slong hours mightexperience more stress and fatigue andthis accounts fo increased aggression.

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Assessing Effects of Daycare

1) Variety of day care settings.
Different arrangmentsdifferin terms of adult-child ratios and number of other children present.

2) Time spent in day care.
Children whostart atdifferent ages and spend different amount of time each week in daycare. Campbell et al found children who spend longer hours a day in daycare had less social abilities developed then those who had shorter days but more days.

3) Day care settings vary in quality
Campbell et al found children in higher quality day care developed better social skills/

4) Children have different temperaments anddifferent attachment styles
So some get more out of daycare then others.

5) Families who use nursery based care may differ from those who use relatives for child care.
Melhuish et al 1991 compared 255 women choice and attidues to work and childcare, Those who use family based care tend o have stronger identies as mothers.

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Attachments influence on DayCare

 Bowlby theory suggests:

1) Child needs secure attachment with anadult.

2) Childcan have multiple attachments

3) Child needs to beabletouse their attachmentfiguere asa safe base and rely on them in times of stress and fear.

Key worker approach

- Named person who acts as significant adult for each child during thier time at nursery for them to use as attachment figure in timesof stress.

- For example begginning of day when parent drops them off and on collection whe they are anxious of parents return.

- They must be emotionally avialable to the child to provide warmth andsecurity to help them settle into the nursery day.

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What makes good day care?

1) Low adult to child ratio

To allow plenty attention and stimulation 

2) Small sized group

Easier for young children as there are less strangers 

3) Mixed aged group

Gives young children oppurtinity to observe their older peers interactions and copy thier social behaviours. 

4) Well trained staff and a low staff turnover

Allows children to get to know staff and prevents feelings of insecurity when adults leave. 

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Process Characteristics

Key worker system

Provides children with a secure attachement.

A structured day

Good quality day care should involve a structure ofays activities with free time toplay, some group time and osme structured activities. 

Routinehelps child to feelthat their environmentis predictable allowing them to feel safe.

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