Tue Apr 24, 2001 - 12:15 pm EST

MINNEAPOLIS, MINN, Apr 24, 2001 ( - The most comprehensive child care study conducted to date to determine how variations in child care are related to children’s development, has found that the more hours children spend in day care, the more likely they are to become aggressive, disobedient, and defiant by the time they are in kindergarten. The Study of Early Child Care was undertaken by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (part of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).

The study, presented Thursday at the annual meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development in Minneapolis showed children who spend more than 30 hours in day care scored higher on such items as: “gets in lots of fights,”“cruelty,”“explosive behavior,”“talking too much,”“argues a lot,” and “demands a lot of attention.” The study involved a team of NICHD-supported researchers following the lives of over 1,300 children since birth and found children spend an average of 26 hours a week in non-maternal care.

One of the study’s researchers, Professor Jay Belsky of Penn State University, said “If more time in all sorts of [child care] arrangements is predicting disconcerting outcomes, then if you want to reduce the probability of those outcomes, you reduce the time in care. Extend parental leave and part-time work.”

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