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 New population data provide insight on aging, migration
31.08.2016 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht PRB projects world population rising 33 percent by 2050 to nearly 10 billion
25.08.2016 | Population Reference Bureau

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

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

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere

25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

Fluorescent holography: Upending the world of biological imaging

25.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Etching Microstructures with Lasers

25.10.2016 | Process Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>