Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Childcare reduces stress levels for kids with working mums


Low job satisfaction in working mothers increases the stress levels of their children, but spending longer in childcare can help overcome these effects, new research has shown.

In a study involving more than 50 nursery school children, researchers found higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol in children whose mothers found their jobs less rewarding, or left them feeling emotionally exhausted, than those who reported more enjoyment from their jobs.

Levels of cortisol in the evening were more than double in these children.

Yet for women who have low job satisfaction, the research suggests that placing their children in childcare would help to significantly reduce the stress experienced by their children.

The researchers also found that children from families that were either highly expressive or reserved also exhibited higher than average cortisol levels.

The report, published in the journal Developmental Psychobiology today (Monday 21 November 2005), suggests that greater support is needed for working mothers to help improve their job satisfaction and increase the availability of affordable childcare options.

The study was conducted by Dr Julie Turner-Cobb, a health psychologist and senior lecturer at the University of Bath, Dr Christina Chryssanthopoulou from the University of Kent and by Dr David Jessop, a neuroimmunologist at the University of Bristol.

To measure cortisol levels they took saliva samples in the morning and evening from 56 children aged three-four years old. They also surveyed mothers about their workplace conditions and home life over six months.

“Spending more time in childcare makes a big difference to the stress levels in children whose mothers have low job satisfaction,” said Dr Julie Turner-Cobb from the University of Bath.

“It can help protect children from the effects of their mother’s low job quality and emotional exhaustion. Ensuring that mothers of young children have good support in the workplace is essential for supporting both mothers and their children.”

Dr David Jessop, from the University of Bristol, added: “Improving the job satisfaction of working mothers means that they are less stressed themselves, and extending the availability of affordable and adequate childcare may not only improve the quality of life for the mothers, but in doing so may improve the long term health of their children.”

Cortisol is a steroid hormone which regulates blood pressure and cardiovascular function and immune function as well as controlling the body’s use of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.

Cortisol secretion increases in response to stress experience, whether physical (such as illness, trauma, surgery, or temperature extremes) or psychological. It is a normal and essential response without which we would not be able to function in everyday life.

But it is when these levels remain high or become disrupted in some way over a prolonged period of time that they may have consequences for health. It is important to promote healthy adaptation to stress in children and good quality childcare is one way of doing this.

The study is part of an ongoing research programme led by Dr Julie Turner-Cobb who is currently following up this work investigating how children adjust to starting primary school and the effect on cortisol production in a study funded by the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC).

The study was also funded by the University of Kent at Canterbury.

Andrew McLaughlin | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Illinois researchers researchers find tweeting in cities lower than expected
21.02.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

nachricht Polluted air may pollute our morality
08.02.2018 | Association for Psychological Science

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Physicists made crystal lattice from polaritons

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Thawing permafrost produces more methane than expected

20.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>