Improving care. Changing lives.

Does Center Based Child Care Improve Development in Disadvantaged Children?

Principal Investigators: Arnstein Mykletun, Ph.D. and Henrik Zachrisson, Ph.D.

This new research grant studies the impact of child care on the mental health, language development and other development of children growing up in disadvantaged families due to poverty, maternal depression and mental illness. The latter family factors are well known to be associated with a higher risk of mental health problems and poor language and other developmental outcomes in children.

Efforts to promote development in children at risk are most likely to succeed when implemented at an early age. Center based child care has been considered, by researchers and policymakers alike, as a fruitful arena for improving the mental health and development of children at risk. The objectives of this project are to gain knowledge about whether the mental health and language development of disadvantaged children at 3, 5 and 8 years of age is improved by early (1-3 years) center based child care.

This project will take advantage of the unique data from the nationally representative sample of The Norwegian Mother and Child Study (n=107,000), combined with two national registries on indicators of family disadvantage and child care. Findings will inform future child care policy in Norway, the USA, and other industrialized nations and around the world, and be of great scientific importance to understand family factors that contribute to poor child mental health and poor child language development.

January 2013 Press Release: New Major Study Challenges Connection Between Child Care and Behavioral Issues

Funding Source: 
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health and Norwegian Research Council