WASHINGTON, Nov 12 ( – A study published in the November issue of the American Psychological Association’s journal of Developmental Psychology found “significant associations between more hours in child care and slightly less sensitive mothering and child engagement.” 

The study examined maternal sensitivity and child-positive engagement during mother-child interactions at the ages of 6, 15, 24, and 36 months for 1,274 mothers. The mothers were participating in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Study of Early Child Care. In longitudinal analyses that controlled for selection, child, and family predictors, the study found that mothers whose children spent more time in daycare were less sensitive and had less positive engagement when interacting with their children.