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Family child care providers' responsiveness toward children: The role of professional support and perceived stress


Approximately 7 million 0- to 5-year-old children attend family child care, which is a non-parental, paid care provided in a child care provider's home in the U.S. Despite the importance of family child care providers' role in supporting young children's development, studies on family child care providers' responsiveness for children in their care are lacking. This study investigates whether family child care providers' perceived professional support (i.e., professional resources and connectedness with children's families) and perceived personal stress are independently and jointly associated with their responsiveness towards children's emotional and social challenges. Survey data were collected from 888 family child care providers in 40 states in the U.S. We found that when family child care providers have more professional resources, they utilize less negative guidance. Further, when family child care providers have more positive connectedness with children's families, they utilize more positive guidance. Family child care providers' perceived personal stress was significantly associated with their responsiveness towards children's negative emotions. Examining interactions between perceived professional support and personal stress, we found that perceived professional support was positively associated with family child care providers' responsiveness only when their stress level was low. The study emphasizes a need for providing targeted interventions for family child care providers to support their professional development as well as psychological wellbeing. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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