The social ecology of school-age child care.

Laird, R. D., Pettit, G. S., Dodge, K. A., & Bates, J. E. (1998). The Social Ecology of School-Age Child Care. Journal of applied developmental psychology19(3), 341–360.


Abstract: The goal of this longitudinal study was to examine variations in school-age child care arrangements across the elementary school years as a function of child, family, and contextual factors. Pre-kindergarten family background measures were collected through parent questionnaires and interviews. Follow-up interviews with 466 parents provided information on children's care experiences in grades 1 through 5. Some care arrangements (e.g., self care) showed considerable continuity, whereas other arrangements (e.g., school programs) changed substantially from year-to-year. Increases in use were found for self-care, sibling care, neighbor care, and activity-based care; use of day care decreased across years. Children living with working and/or single mothers spent more time in non-parent care, as did boys with behavior problems. Time spent in specific care arrangements varied as a function of child sex, behavioral adjustment, ethnicity, family socio-economic status, mothers' employment, and parents' marital status. These findings underscore the importance of developmental and ecological-contextual factors in families' choices of care arrangements.