Day-care effects on children's competence and adjustment: A longitudinal, multilevel and multi-informant community study

Prosjektperiode: 01/11/2010 - 21/01/2016

Institusjon: Psykologisk institutt, Norges teknisk-naturvitenskapelige universitet (NTNU)

Prosjektleder: Lars Wichstrøm

Program: Norsk utd.forskn.2009-2018


After four decades of research there are few answers to questions pertaining day-care effects on children's development. We argue that there are at least five methodological reasons for this state of affairs - which will be addressed: adequate control for self-selection biases; simultaneous control for quality, type, and quantity of care; differences in day-care organization and quality between countries; lack of prospective studies; not considering for whom day-care may have which effects. In addition, c hildren themselves have never been used as informants and no one have studied whether day-care may alter the rate of serious behavioural or emotional problems. Firstly we ask if there are unique effects of quality, quantity and type of day-care on childr en's adjustment and competence (a) during the pre-school years and (b) if such effects extend into the first years at school, adjusting for potential selection biases. Secondly, we will investigate for which children there are day-care effects, viz. accor ding to their temperamental characteristics or parental background (i.e. social inequality). A probability sample of 995 pre-schoolers participates. Children are interviewed concerning relationships with parents, peers and teachers; educational motivatio n; self-esteem, task orientation - and they are tested on vocabulary, intelligence, executive functioning, and attachment. Information on parents' teaching practises, mental health, children's media use, children's mental health, social competence, and te mperament are obtained through interview and questionnaires. Day-care personnel and school teachers provide information on relationship to the child, rating of social competence, and metal health. Leaders of day-care centers provide information on structu ral aspects of the center. Data are supplemented with archival data on test results (language, reading, math) and official registers. Retesting take place every 2nd year.