A Profile Approach to Child Care Quality, Quantity, and Type of Setting: Parent Selection of Infant Child Care Arrangements

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Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Building on prior variable-oriented research which demonstrates the independence of the associations of child care quality, quantity, and type of setting with family factors and child outcomes, the current study identifies four profiles of child care dimensions from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development. Profiles accounted for 73% of total variance in 10 child care variables measured for 489 6-month-olds in nonparental child care including type of setting, quantity of care, and structural/process quality indicators. Dominant marker variables were used to label the four profiles which revealed complex patterns. Lower family risk, especially higher maternal education, was associated with profiles marked by features associated with better child outcomes, but only maternal belief in the harm of maternal employment protected against child care profiles with features associated with poorer child outcomes. By allowing child care characteristics to correlate freely with dimension profiles using a person-oriented approach, results facilitate examination of the contributions of each individual characteristic to each profile, suggesting ways to improve child care provision and to examine child care selection.

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