Experiences in day care and social competence among maltreated children

Robert H. Bradley, Bettye M. Caldwell, Jane A. Fitzgerald, Anne G. Morgan, Stephen L. Rock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The experience of 39 preschool-age maltreated children from 13 child care facilities was examined to determine the extent to which the children's social development was related to the quality of day-care service. Maltreated children assigned by the Arkansas Department of Social Services to three different types of child care facilities were observed: specialized day-care programs, regular day-care centers and family day homes. The children scored below average in intelligence and were rated by their parents as displaying higher than normal rates of disturbed behavior. While no comparison group of non-maltreated children was included in the study, observations of the maltreated children in the child care setting revealed substantially more positive than negative social behavior. The children were reasonably effective in interacting with adult caregivers in day care. The maltreated children were also productive in most encounters with peers. Ratings of the quality of care received in day care were significantly correlated with the children's social competence in child care. Aspects of social behavior in maltreated children were related to the organization of the program, the physical facilities, traits of the caregiver, and caregiver expectations for the children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-189
Number of pages9
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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