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Goodness of Fit in Child Care: Examining the Contributions of Child and Caregiver Characteristics to Stress Reactivity

Previous work has repeatedly shown that full-day child care is associated with increased physiological stress for many young children. Efforts to understand this phenomenon have demonstrated that quality of caregiving is important for predicting the proportion of children who exhibit a rising pattern of the stress-sensitive hormone cortisol across the day at child care. Understanding which children find child care particularly stressful and what caregiving behaviors are most important for buffering them from stress is badly needed. The present study specifically examines whether: (1) child temperament and attachment to parents predict cortisol reactivity across the day at child care; (2) secure attachment to child care providers buffers children against the stress reactivity; and (3) child care providers are able to buffer stress reactivity in a structured one-on-one interaction. Sample: 15 Head Start classrooms, 15 non-Head Start and non-university affiliated classrooms, 170 families, with oversample of 50 Mexican-origin families. Measures: Cortisol samples collected from children's saliva across the day, Attachment Q-set, Semi-structured Interaction, Measures of Sensitive and Intrusiveness, Child Behavioral Questionnaire/ Child Behavior Checklist, Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale- Revised, Parent Survey, Center Director Survey.
Resource Type:
Administration for Children and Families/OPRE Projects
Principal Investigator(s):
Research Scholar(s):

Related resources include summaries, versions, measures (instruments), or other resources in which the current document plays a part. Research products funded by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation are related to their project records.

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