The NICHD Study of Early Child Care found that using child care does not affect infants' trust in their mothers.
Over the past decade, mounting evidence appearing in academic journals had begun to convince psychologists that youngsters, and especially infants, placed in day care are more likely to display an "insecure attachment" to their mothers, meaning that the baby is either unusually sensitive or indifferent to absences of the mother.
The debate about day care started in the 1970s when an increasing number of women began to enter the work force and to deposit their youngsters in day-care facilities. In America, 1975, 6,000,000 working women were mothers of preschool children. By 1995, the figure had jumped to 14,600,000. In lockstep with the increase in the number of working mothers were the ballooning day-care statistics. In 1977, 4,370,000 children under five years old were being cared for on a regular basis by someone other than the mother. By 1991, 9,854,000 youngsters were in day care.
At the same time, however, women worried about the effects that day care might have on their children, and especially on the quality of their relationships to their babies. Studies began to warn of an increased likelihood of insecure attachment in day-care children. Delays in cognitive performance, as well as undesirable social behavior, were also showing up in some children who attended ordinary day-care facilities.
What the latest NICHD study in fact found was that day care has different effects upon the mother - child relationship depending upon the nature of the mother's behavior toward her child at home. When mothers provide sensitive, responsive, affectionate care, then the attachment between mother and child, which is already likely to be secure, is not typically hurt by day care. If a mother does not display these qualities, less than optimal day care increases the likelihood of an insecure relationship between mother and child.
Page Title: 'Child Day Care Centers: Evolution, Culture, Work
& Caring for Children, Services, Education, Baby, Play'.
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