Center-based early head start and children exposed to family conflict

Leanne Whiteside-Mansell, Robert Bradley, Lorraine McKelvey, Maya Lopez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Research Findings: Family conflict is known to be associated with poor development for young children, but many children appear resilient. This study examined the extent to which high-quality center care during early childhood protects children from these negative consequences. Children participating in center-based sites of the Early Head Start (EHS) Research and Evaluation study were grouped based on their treatment status: 305 children receiving EHS services, and 305 children not receiving EHS services. Family conflict was positively associated with aggressive behavior as reported by parents for children at 3 and 5 years of age for comparison children but not for children in EHS center-based programs. However, moderation impacts were not observed for objective ratings of child negativity to parent in semistructured interactions. Practice or Policy: These findings may suggest that attending lesser quality child care and living in a family characterized by conflict is associated with heightened aggressive behavior for children aged 3 and 5, whereas attending high-quality child care such as that provided by EHS may buffer the negative impacts of family conflict on children's psychosocial outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)942-957
Number of pages16
JournalEarly education and development
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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