The impact of day care on social development

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  • Created on: 10-05-15 18:25

The impact of day care on aggression - AO2

- Day care: any temporary care for a child provided by someone other than the parents or guardian they live with e.g. day nurseries, child minders. 

Negative effects of day care

Durkin: infants who attended day care from before the age of 12 months were more prone to aggressiveness, negative social adjustment, hyperactivity and anxiety compared to those who started day care later. 

Sammons et al: there is a slight risk of increased anti-social behaviour when children spend 20+ hours a week in nurseries and a significantly increased risk if they spend 40+ hours in day care. 

Positive effects of day care

- Schweinhart et al: children who were part of the Perry Pre-school Project had lower delinquency rates in adolescence and were less likely to have a criminal record as adults compared to a control group. This project provided high quality pre-school education to African-American children living in poverty who were thought to be at high risk of school failure. 

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The impact of day care on peer relations -AO2

Positive effects of day care

Andersson: followed up Swedish children at ages 8 and 13 who had entered day care before the age of 12 months and found that they were obtaining higher scores on measures of social competence.

Field: the more time children spent in day care the more friends they had. Children who experienced high quality day care showed more physical affection during peer interactions. 

Relevant for both aggression and peer relations!

Shea: studied children between the ages of 3 and 4, half of which attended nursery school 5 days a week, the other half attending just twice a week. In their first 10 weeks of nursery school, both groups increased their social skills, were less aggressive and interacted more with others, and these developments were more rapid for the children that attended 5 days a week. 

Sylva et al: carried out the Effective Provision of Pre-school Education project to study the impact of pre-school on young children's intellectual and social development. Pre-school attendance improved aspects of social behaviour such as independence and peer sociability. The increased risk of anti-social behaviour could be reduced by high quality day care. 

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Quality of day care/evaluation - AO2

Melhuish: found increased aggression among children whose carers were constantly changing.

Clarke-Stewart et al: children in group based day care were more sociable and better able to interact with peers than children cared for at home or by childminders. However, being with a child minder may be beneficial when forming attachments compared to what would be experienced in group day care as there would be multiple carers. 

Evaluation of research into the effects of day care

- Almost all of the studies have produced correlational findings so a cause and effect relationship cannot be established because other variables may be involved e.g. mother having a stressful job, other stressors at home.

- Most of the research has been conducted in the USA so is culturally biased meaning we cannot apply the findings to other cultures (lacks population validity) e.g. in West Africa parents often delegate care of their children to foster parents as a way of extending social networks and cementing family and friendship bonds. 

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