Do effects of early child care extend to age 15 years? Results from the NICHD study of early child care and youth development

Child Dev. May-Jun 2010;81(3):737-56. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01431.x.


Relations between nonrelative child care (birth to 4(1/2) years) and functioning at age 15 were examined (N = 1,364). Both quality and quantity of child care were linked to adolescent functioning. Effects were similar in size as those observed at younger ages. Higher quality care predicted higher cognitive-academic achievement at age 15, with escalating positive effects at higher levels of quality. The association between quality and achievement was mediated, in part, by earlier child-care effects on achievement. High-quality early child care also predicted youth reports of less externalizing behavior. More hours of nonrelative care predicted greater risk taking and impulsivity at age 15, relations that were partially mediated by earlier child-care effects on externalizing behaviors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Achievement*
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Care / methods*
  • Child Day Care Centers
  • Child Development*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior / psychology
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Internal-External Control*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological
  • National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (U.S.)
  • Object Attachment
  • Personality Assessment
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk-Taking
  • Social Environment*
  • Socialization*
  • United States