Child Development / Family Research

Child Study Finds Early Child Care Linked to Aggression & Disobedience

Results proved true regardless of quality of center-based care they received.

Analysis of the largest, longest running, and most comprehensive study of child care in the USA has found that the more time children spent in center-based care before kindergarten, the more likely their teachers were to report such problem behaviors as “gets in many fights,” “disobedient at school,” and “argues a lot.”

The study confirms research published last year which was undertaken in Canada which found that children in daycare were 17 times more hostile than children raised at home, and almost three times more anxious.

The Canadian study also found negative effects on parents.

A 2005 study from England demonstrated that a mother’s care was best for toddlers’ development, with nursery care linked to “higher levels of aggression.”

An Australian study published in 2006 confirmed prior research finding that daycare seems to damage babies’ brain chemistry and affect their “social and emotional development.”

The current study, which appears in the March/April 2007 issue of Child Development, found that children with more experience in child care centers showed in early grades through sixth grade, a greater frequency of what the researchers termed teacher-reported externalizing problem behavior.

Teachers reported more frequent problem behaviors such as: child demands a lot of attention; argues a lot; bragging and boasting; cruelty, bullying or meanness to others; destroys things belonging to others; disobedient at school; gets into many fights; lying or cheating; screams a lot.

The study, led by Jay Belsky, Ph.D., Director of the Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Social Issues and Professor of Psychology at Birkbeck University of London, also found children who had been in center care in early childhood were more likely to score higher on teacher reports of aggression and disobedience.

This was true regardless of the quality of the center-based care they received.

The 1,364 children in the analysis had been tracked since birth as part of the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development.

Families were recruited through hospital visits to mothers shortly after the birth of a child in 1991 in 10 locations in the U.S. The children studied were not a representative sample of children in the U.S. population.

Canadian study coverage:

Study Shows Canada’s Universal Daycare Plan Has “Strikingly Negative” Consequences http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2006/feb/06020205.html.

[March/April 2007 Child Development; 26March07, DC, LifeSiteNews.com]