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Citation:NICHD Early Child Care Research Network. (2002). Parenting and family influences when children are in child care: Results from the NICHD study of early child care. In J. G. Borkowski & S. Ramey & M. Bristol-Power (Eds.), Parenting and the childÕs world: Influences on intellectual, academic, and social-emotional development (pp. 99-123). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

This report summarizes results from the first two phases of the National Institute of Child Health and Human DevelopmentÕs (NICHD) multisite prospective study of the effects of early child care on the development of children, which was initiated in 1989. The study was designed as a comprehensive study of the child-care setting as compared to the family child-rearing environment. In phase one, the study followed the development of a national sample of 1,364 children throughout their infancy and preschool years. In phase two, participating children were studied through their first grade in school. In a third phase, researchers plan to follow participants through middle childhood. One major focus of the study has been ways in which childrenÕs experiences in child care may modify the influence of family experiences. The study did not use a random sample. Instead, participants were recruited from 24 hospitals in 10 states. A total of 1,364 families with healthy newborns were enrolled in the study when the infants were 1 month of age. By 36 months of age, 1,216, or 89 percent of the original sample, remained in the study. By the time participating children were 4.5 years old, 1,081 of the original 1,364 children and their families remained in the study; in kindergarten, 1,058 remained. Researchers used a variety of measures at various intervals, including measures of the family, parenting, and mother-child relations, and of childrenÕs social, cognitive, and language development. Findings indicate that outcomes for children are consistently associated with the quality of the parenting they receive; this holds true for children with varied experiences in child care. The authors noted that, ÒIn particular, qualities of parenting, including maternal sensitivity, responsivity, involvement, and cognitive stimulation were found to be uniquely predictive of young childrenÕs socioemotional and cognitive development after taking into account the childrenÕs child-care experience over the first three years of lifeÓ (p. 119).

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