Melhuish et al. (1990)


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  • Created by: Daisy
  • Created on: 24-05-12 11:23


  • To see how 4 different types of care for young children during the day affected their behaviour
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  • There were 4 groups of children that made up the independent variable
  • 3 groups had parents who were both earners and so used daycare
  • The other group belonged to families which had a single earner amd a non working mother and which did not use daycare. This last group was the home group
  • The three groups other than the home care were either day nursery children, those with a childminder or those cared by relatives
  • So ther was a home group, day nursery group, childminder group and a realtives group. The question was whether the different types of daycare affected the child
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Prcedures continued

  • 255 london families were contaced by phone and background information was gathered by questionnaire.
  • The chikdren were visited at 5 month, 11 months and 36 months of age.
  • A total of 246 children took part in the 18 month visit where interview data, questionnnaire data and observational data were gathered.
  • Children were observed in their day care or home setting using 2 1 hour observations
  • For various reason not all the children took part in the study in the end the study involved - 44 children in the home group, 34 in the day nursery group, 59 in the child minder group and 19 in the relatives group
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  • Observation took place during the free play and involved recording the childs activity every 10 seconds.
  • Behaviour was not included if it did not have 70% inter observor reliabilty or more.
  • Overall there 86% inter observor reliabilty with regard to adult interactions (which were also recorded. and 82% agreement with regard to children activities. 2 observations were made on different days to check for stability of behaviours
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  • Responsiveness - It was found that the home group and relatives group were more respnsive that the nursey group. The home group was also more responsive that the childminder group.
  • Affection and Emotional behaviour- the nursey group showed fewer affection responses than the other groups.
  • Affection was greater in nurseries but low overall
  • Language use by the child :  The nursery group showed the least use of language compared with the other three gorups. The childminder group showed lower language use that the home group as well.
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  • Overall it was though that the 4 types of daycare had different outcomes for the child with reagrd to specific behaviours
  • Individual play, crying and gestures did not differ between the grouos but reponsiveness, agression, language use by the child and affection were areas of behaviour that did seem to show differences between the groups.
  • Attention, joint play and group activity showed differences too
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Evaluation - Strengths

  • Strengths:
  • There is inter-observor reliabilty in the findings that were reported , so the study os shown to be reliable.
  • Children were observed during free play when they could choose their own activities which should have led to fair comparisons between the four groups.
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Evaluation - Weaknesses

  • Weaknesses:
  • The nurseries were privately owned and not well resourced. If different nurseries had been used their may have been different results
  • Only 18 month old children were observed so perhaps the findings can only be generalised to that age group
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