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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Stress, Noise, Cortisol and Wellbeing in Childcare
Cat Herder 05:47 AM 09-01-2016
We examined whether children cared for by stressed caregivers show lower socio-emotional well-being and more stress, compared with children cared for by less stressed caregivers. Perceived stress and cortisol levels of professional caregivers (n = 44), and associations with children's (n = 44) well-being and cortisol levels in home-based child care were examined. Caregiver perceived stress and cortisol levels were related to children's well-being but not to children's cortisol levels. Children's social fearfulness acted as a moderator between caregivers' mean ratio of diurnal change in cortisol and children's well-being. When caregiver cortisol levels decreased, more fearful children were reported higher on well-being than less fearful peers. In contrast, when caregiver cortisol levels increased, more fearful children were reported lower on well-being. The findings point to differential susceptibility. Child care organizations and parents need to notice that a non-stressful child care environment is in particular important for children with a difficult temperament.

The central question in this study is whether individual variability in children's cortisol levels and wellbeing at childcare can be explained by indices of quality of care and child characteristics. Participants were 71 children from childcare homes and 45 children from childcare centers in the age range of 2040 months. In both types of settings equivalent measures and procedures were used. In home-based childcare, children experienced higher caregiver sensitivity, lower noise levels, and showed higher wellbeing compared to children in childcare centers. Caregiver sensitivity in home-based childcare but not in center care was positively associated with children's wellbeing. Additionally, children displayed higher cortisol levels at childcare than at home, irrespective of type of care. In home-based childcare, lower caregiver sensitivity was associated with higher total production of salivary cortisol during the day. In center-based childcare, lower global quality of care was associated with a rise in cortisol between 11 AM and 3 PM during the day. Quality of care is an important factor in young children's wellbeing and HPA stress reactivity.


MunchkinWrangler 07:47 AM 09-01-2016
I need another cup of coffee to read this.

Are they even considering that a child is naturally stressed being apart from their parents?

I personally think that a center environment is chaotic and more stressful than home based care. Naptime is a definite stressor to a new child but not to a child who is familiar with the routine.
Tags:child abuse prevention, cortisol, fear, noise, stress, stressed - child
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