The interaction of child care and family risk in relation to child development at 24 and 36 months

Nichd Early Child Care Research Network

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


Family risk factors (psychosocial, socioeconomic, and sociocultural), child care characteristics (quality and hours in care), and the interactions of these variables were examined as predictors of behavior problems, prosocial behavior, and language skills in a longitudinal sample of 943 children (assessed at 24 and 36 months) enrolled in child care as infants. Family risk variables were the strongest predictors of all outcomes. Child care quality was a significant predictor of 36-month caregiver-reported social skills and 36-month language skills. Contrary to expectations, limited evidence was found to suggest child care experiences moderate the negative associations between family risk and child outcomes. Family risk interacted with child care quality in only 1 of the 5 analyses, and did not interact with child care quantity in any of the analyses. One interaction between family risk and child care was significant. Children from minority and single-parent families were rated as less prosocial by their mothers when in low-quality child care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-156
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Developmental Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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