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Child care structure, process, outcome: Direct and indirect effects of child care quality on young children's development

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Psychological Science, volume 13, number 3
NICHD Early Child Care Research Network
Publication Date: 
1 May 2002

Full article available in print only.

Abstract from research article:

With data from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care, we used structural equation modeling to test paths from structural indicators of child care quality, specifically caregiver training and child-staff ratio, through a process indicator to child outcomes. There were three main findings: (a) Quality of maternal caregiving was the strongest predictor of cognitive competence, as well as caregivers' rating of social competence; (b) quality of nonmaternal caregiving was associated with cognitive competence and caregivers' ratings of social competence; and (c) there was a mediated path from both caregiver training and child-staff ratio through quality of nonmaternal caregiving to cognitive competence, as well as to caregivers' rating of social competence, that was not accounted for entirely by family variables. These finding provide empirical support for policies that improve state regulations for caregiver training and child-staff ratios.

(Psychological Science is a major scholarly journal published by the American Psychological Society and is available in most academic libraries. Article is also in CRRU's resource collection. Contact CRRU for further information. )