Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Links between child care and academic achievement, behavior persist into adolescence

17.05.2010
Teens who were in high-quality child care settings as young children scored slightly higher on measures of academic and cognitive achievement and were slightly less likely to report acting-out behaviors than peers who were in lower-quality child care arrangements during their early years, according to the latest analysis of a long-running study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

And teens who had spent the most hours in child care in their first 4½ years reported a slightly greater tendency toward impulsiveness and risk-taking at 15 than did peers who spent less time in child care.

Although the study followed children's experience in child care, it was not designed to determine cause and effect, and so could not prove whether a given aspect of the child care experience had a particular effect. It is possible that other factors, not measured in the study, were involved.

The study authors noted that the differences in these measures among the youth in the study were small, but the magnitude of both patterns was consistent from early childhood to adolescence. Previous studies have noted similar trends, but the study is the first to track children for a full decade after they left child care.

"Previous findings from the study indicate that parents appear to have far more influence on their child's growth and development than the type of child care they receive," said James A. Griffin, Ph.D., deputy chief of the Child Development and Behavior Branch, at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the NIH institute that funded the study, "The current findings reveal that the modest association between early child care and subsequent academic achievement and behavior seen in earlier study findings persists through childhood and into the teen years."

The study results appear in the May/June issue of the journal Child Development.

The 1,364 youth in the analysis had been evaluated periodically since they were 1 month of age, as part of the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (SECCYD), the largest, longest running and most comprehensive study of child care in the United States.

Families were recruited through hospital visits to mothers shortly after the birth of a child in 1991, in 10 locations in the United States. Although the children studied were not a representative sample of children in the U.S. population, the families that participated in the study were from diverse geographic, demographic, economic and ethnic backgrounds.

From 1 month of age through sixth grade, children were evaluated at least annually on tests of cognitive and academic progress. In addition, researchers queried parents regularly and recorded the type, quantity and quality of child care during the children's first 4½ years. The researchers also observed child care interactions to evaluate the quality of care. Of the children studied, nearly 90 percent spent some time in the care of someone other than their mother by the time they reached 4½ years of age. High-quality care was characterized by the caregivers' warmth, support, and cognitive stimulation of the children under their care.

The researchers also requested that caregivers or teachers evaluate the behavior of children under their care at 4½ and every two years through elementary school. When the students were 15, the researchers tested the students' academic achievement and, using a questionnaire, had the students evaluate their own behaviors. These included measures of behavioral problems (acting out in class); impulsivity (acting without thinking through the consequences); and risk taking (engaging in behaviors that might harm themselves or others).

Rating child-care quality on a scale of 1 to 4, researchers found that more than 40 percent of the children experienced high-quality or moderately high-quality care. They noted a modest correlation between higher quality care and higher results on cognitive and academic assessments, including reading and math tests. This correlation was similar at age 4½ and age 15. A new finding that emerged at age 15 was that youth who had spent more time in quality child care as young children reported fewer acting-out behavior problems as teenagers.

"These results underscore the importance of interaction between children and their daytime caregivers," said first author Deborah Lowe Vandell, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Education at University of California, Irvine. "We're seeing enduring effects of the quality of staff-child interaction."

Similarly, the researchers noted a correlation between the average number of hours children spent in child care each week through age 4½ and the youths' own evaluations of impulsivity and risk-taking tendencies at 15. This correlation was independent of the quality of child care the children experienced.

Moreover, the correlation reflected earlier associations between hours in child care and caregivers' reports of problem behaviors that the researchers had originally detected when the children were 4½. Hours in child care were calculated as the average number of hours per week a child spent in child care in infancy, as a toddler, and as a preschooler.

The study's findings were consistent among boys as well as girls. In addition, previous studies had suggested that child care could have benefits for children from economically disadvantaged homes. So the researchers created a risk index with such factors as family income, the mother's level of education, and mothers' reports of depression symptoms, dividing their group into three based on risk. Both the achievement and behavior patterns they had found were consistent across all three groups.

"High quality child care appears to provide a small boost to academic performance, perhaps by fostering the early acquisition of school readiness skills," said James A. Griffin, Ph.D., deputy chief of the NICHD Child Development & Behavior Branch. "Likewise, more time spent in child care may provide a different socialization experience, resulting in slightly more impulsive and risk-taking behaviors in adolescence. These findings underscore the importance of studying the linkages between early care and later development."

The NICHD sponsors research on development, before and after birth; maternal, child, and family health; reproductive biology and population issues; and medical rehabilitation. For more information, visit the Institute's Web site at http://www.nichd.nih.gov/.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov

Robert Bock | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nih.gov

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT

nachricht Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>