The Impact Of Day Care

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Aggression AO1


  • 1991 longitudanal study
  • 1,000 children from 10 different locations 
  • assessed at regular intervals
  • parent asked to fill out questionaire about child
  • found that the more time spent in day care correlated with the adults rating the children as aggressive, disobident and assertive
  • full time day care were 3 times more likely to be the above 3


  • 2003 european longitudnal study 
  • children aged 3-7
  • taking into account the childrens backgrounds
  • found that children who spent longer in day care were rated as showing more evidence of anti-social behaviour - rated by teachers 
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Aggression AO2


  • NICHD - Sarah Friedman stated that results from the study also showed that 85% of children who spent 10 - 30 hours in day care did not show higher levels of aggresion.
  • Lack of causal relationship - cause and effect cannot be established due to IV not being directly manpiulated, can only show a link between aggresion and day care.
  • Other factors may affect aggression - such as mother sensitivity or a higher maternal education. Research ahas suggested that impact on a childs aggresion are more strongly affected by factors at home than day care.
  • Natural experiment allows psychologists to study real problems in a natural setting. 
  • Participants are aware of study so participant effects, investigator effects and demand characteristics may occur.
  • Questionaires - answers may not be truthful, parents may not wish to admit that their child is aggresive or may answer according to social desirability.
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Peer Relations AO1

  • Secure attachments linked with better peer relations
  • Minnesota longitudnal study 2005
  • found infants who were sercurely attached became more popular 
  • However children in day care are more likely to be insercurely attached
  • Belsky & Rovine 1988
  • 20 hours + of day care 
  • children were more likely to be insercurely attached compared with children at home
  • Alison Clarke - Stewart 1994
  • 150 children
  • children were consistently more advanced in their social development than children who stayed at home.
  • Fields 1991
  • Number of hours spent in day care correlated with the number of friends they had.
  • Creps and Vernon- Feagans 1999
  • found that children who started day care before the age of 6 months were actually more sociable then those who started later on
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Mediating Factors

Quality of Care 

  • good staff to child ratio
  • minimal staff turnover
  • suitable substitue emotional care provided 

Indididual Differences

  • children deal with day care differently 

Lack of commitment and interest

  • parents have a greater interest in their childs well being than the staff 

Childs age and number of hours 

  • negative effects occur when child is below 6 months
  • longer time spent = aggresive behaviour 
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