Differential effects of early child care quality on children's socio-emotional development

by Martine Broekhuizen

Institution: Universiteit Utrecht
Year: 2015
Keywords: Child care quality; Socio-emotional development; Individual differences; Self-regulation; Parenting; Child care quantity
Record ID: 1261191
Full text PDF: http://dspace.library.uu.nl:8080/handle/1874/306811


Drawing on Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological theory, the aim of this dissertation was to investigate whether effects of early child care quality on children’s socio-emotional development depended on children’s individual and contextual characteristics. Chapter 2 and 3 examined whether associations between child care quality and children’s socio-emotional competence at age 2 and 3 depended on children’s self-regulation abilities. Results showed that for children low on self-regulation, high quality child care predicted more observed social integration during play (chapter 2), and more teacher-rated social competence (chapter 3), whereas no associations were found between child care quality and social skills for children scoring high on self-regulation. Moreover, in chapter 3 children low on self-regulation not only showed more social competence in high quality child care, but also exhibited less social competence in low quality child care, which is in line with the differential susceptibility hypothesis. In chapter 2, children low on self-regulation also showed more social integration when in high quality child care, but not less social integration when in low quality care.Another noteworthy finding was the association between high quality child care and children’s observed positive mood during play (chapter 2). In addition, boys exhibited less teacher-rated social competence in the case of low quality child care (chapter 3) compared to girls in similar circumstances. Chapter 4 explored whether child care quality interacted with specific parenting dimensions when predicting parent-rated internalizing and externalizing behavior at age 2 and 3. Results showed a concurrent strengthening effect of high quality child care for low levels of internalizing behavior when children experienced highly consistent parenting. The absence of compensatory effects was probably due to the relatively high levels of positive parenting and relatively low levels of child internalizing and externalizing behaviors reported by parents, which leaves less room for “compensation”. Chapter 5 examinedthe combined effectsof child care quality and child care quantity on children’s socio-emotional behaviors at age 2 and 3. Main effects for teacher-rated behaviors showed that high quality child care was related to more social competence while high quantities of child care was linked to more externalizing behavior. For parent-rated behaviors, more days in high quality child care were related to less externalizing behavior. Follow-up analyses showed that this effect difference became significant when children spent three days or more in high quality child care. Finally, chapter 6 used a sample of disadvantaged children from the U.S. to explore the combined effects of preschool and kindergarten quality. Results indicated that children in a high quality classroom in both the final preschool and kindergarten years exhibited more social skills and fewer behavior problems at the end of kindergarten than children experiencing only one or no years of high…