The long-term consequences of infant day-care and mother-infant attachment

Child Dev. 1995 Apr;66(2):474-85. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.1995.tb00884.x.


The aim of this study was to explore the within-group effects of mother-infant attachment and day-care on children's social and emotional adaptation at 42 months and in the early school years. For this high-risk sample, the effects of day-care depended on the quality of mother-infant attachment. Day-care appeared to have a negative effect for secure children but had a positive influence for insecure children. For the secure group, children in day-care were more negative and avoidant at 42 months, and they were more externalizing and aggressive in kindergarten compared to the home-reared group. In contrast, day-care children who were insecurely attached were less withdrawn and more agentic. Overall, day-care children were rated higher on externalizing behavior in kindergarten than home-reared children, but no differences were found in the later school years. The sequelae of attachment indicated that security of attachment during infancy differentially predicted later adaptation for day-care and home-reared children. Attachment was related to later adaptation for home-reared children but did not predict later adaptation for day-care children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aggression / psychology
  • Child Day Care Centers*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Internal-External Control
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mother-Child Relations*
  • Object Attachment*
  • Personality Assessment
  • Personality Development*
  • Poverty / psychology
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Behavior