You are here

Double Jeopardy: Poorer Social-Emotional Outcomes for Children in the NICHD SECCYD Experiencing Home and Child-Care Environments That Confer Risk

Regardless of the quality of non-parental child care, children from low-quality home environments had more behavioral problems and children from high-quality homes had fewer behavioral problems.

[popup title="Sample, Hypothesis, Variables Measured, Study Design" format= "Default hover" text='


  • N: 771
  • Subject Ages: 24, 36 and 54 months
  • Location: United States
  • SES: Higher income families, income-to-needs ratio of 4:1
  • Eligibility: Children in non-maternal child care
  • Additional: Subsample of families in the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development


  1. Children with both low-quality home and non-maternal care would exhibit more internalizing and externalizing problems, more disruptive behaviors and fewer pro-social behaviors than would children in any other group.
  2. High-quality child care would bring children experiencing low-quality home environments into the range of children experiencing average-quality home environments.

Variables Measured, Instruments Used

  • Predictors -
    • parenting quality predictor scores: calculated from scores on the Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment (HOME) administered at 15, 36 and 54 months
    • maternal sensitivity: rated through videotaped interactions at 24, 36 and 54 months
    • quality of the child’s primary non-maternal child care setting: using the ORCE from the original study by the NICHD ECCRN
  • Child outcomes - 
    • behavior problems and pro-social behavior: collected from mothers and primary caregivers
    • the Child Behavior Checklist
    • the Adaptive Social Behavior Inventory (ASBI)




  1. Mothers who were characterized by low-quality HOME scores and low maternal sensitivity portrayed their children as having more internalizing and externalizing behavior problems and  showing less pro-social behaviors than children in homes or child care programs in the middle of the quality distribution when their children were also in low-quality child care.
  2. The mothers' ratings of behavior problems did not differ from the reference group when the children were experiencing low-quality home care and were in high-quality child care.
  3. Caregivers reported fewer externalizing behaviors for children who experienced a home environment categorized as high quality regardless of their child care settings.


  • Non-experimental study design
  • The sample over-represents children and families experiencing lower risk.
  • The HOME assessment was not conducted at 24 months.