Centre-based child care: Long hours do not cause aggression and disobedience, researchers find

January 29, 2013, Norwegian Institute of Public Health

Spending many hours in centre-based child care does not lead to more aggression and disobedience in children, according to a new study using data from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa).

Data from 72,000 mothers and their children, including , were obtained from MoBa. Using , mothers were asked about aggression and obedience at both 18 and 36 months and the amount of time their children spent in child care. In addition to comparing children from different families, the researchers compared siblings who had different amounts of child care.

"These are exciting findings because they contradict research from the USA. There are two likely reasons for this; one is the nature of Norwegian centre-based child care, the other concerns research methods" says primary author Henrik Zachrisson, researcher at the Norwegian Institute of and the Norwegian Centre for Child Behavioural Development.

Favourable work-family policy in Norway

"Norwegian families have easy access to good quality centre-based child care. Each carer is responsible for fewer children than in most other countries. We also offer paid parental leave which means that children usually begin child care at one year old or later, in contrast to the USA where children may start when they are just a few months old. So the Norwegian work-family policy could be part of the explanation," explains Zachrisson.

The researchers found no increase in problematic behaviour among the siblings who spent more hours in child care. They also found that when children were followed over time, increases in the amount of child care were not linked to in behaviour. This is in stark contrast to findings from the USA that indicate that longer hours in child care are associated with higher levels of and disobedience compared to children who have had little or no child care.

Unique data source

"Using data from MoBa gives us unique possibilities. For example we were able to compare siblings who spent different hours in child care. This means that we can effectively account for many family factors that influence both how long children spend in and at the same time have an effect on their behaviour. We are the first to study this association using these methods. It is important to note that when we used the same methods as earlier studies, we found similar results to other researchers, although the association was not as strong. MoBa gives us the possibility to dig deeper and achieve more accurate results" concludes Zachrisson.

Explore further: New study challenges links between day care and behavioral issues

More information: Zachrisson H., Dearing E., Lekhal R., and Toppelberg, C.Little Evidence that Time in Child Care Causes Externalizing Problems during Early Childhood in Norway Child Dev. 2013 Jan 11. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12040

Related Stories

New study challenges links between day care and behavioral issues

January 17, 2013
A new study that looked at more than 75,000 children in day care in Norway found little evidence that the amount of time a child spends in child care leads to an increase in behavioral problems, according to researchers from ...

High-quality child care found good for children -- and their mothers

February 8, 2012
High-quality early child care isn't important just for children, but for their mothers, too. That's the conclusion of a new study by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin; the study appears in the journal Child ...

Child care subsidies boost quality of care for some but not all

June 14, 2012
The federally funded child care subsidy program is among the government's biggest investments in the early care and education of low-income children. A new study has found that subsidies have the potential to enhance the ...

Early use of non-parental childcare is not harmful for most children

September 27, 2011
What type of childcare arrangements do parents choose before their children are 18 months old? Does the choice of childcare affect children's language skills and mental health at the age of five?

Recommended for you

NeuroNext biomarker study explores natural history of infantile-onset SMA

January 9, 2018
Research led by The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center to define the natural history of infantile-onset spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) has been "critical" to accelerate the development of effective therapies and hasten ...

No link between childhood lead levels, later criminality

December 27, 2017
(HealthDay)— Exposure to higher levels of lead during early childhood can affect neurological development—but does that mean affected kids are doomed to delinquency?

Early puberty in girls may take mental health toll

December 26, 2017
(HealthDay)—A girl who gets her first menstrual period early in life—possibly as young as 7—has a greater risk for developing depression and antisocial behaviors that last at least into her 20s, a new study suggests.

Technology not taking over children's lives despite screen-time increase

December 21, 2017
With children spending increasing amounts of time on screen-based devices, there is a common perception that technology is taking over their lives, to the detriment and exclusion of other activities. However, new Oxford University ...

Higher blood sugar in early pregnancy raises baby's heart-defect risk

December 15, 2017
Higher blood sugar early in pregnancy raises the baby's risk of a congenital heart defect, even among mothers who do not have diabetes, according to a study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Injuries from window blinds send two children to the emergency department every day

December 11, 2017
Most homes have them. They help keep our rooms warm or cold and even add a pop of color to tie the décor together. But window blinds can cause serious injuries or even death to young children. A new study from the Center ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.