In another study in the same journal, researchers measured levels of the stress hormone cortisol in 150 mostly white, 3- and 4-year-olds from middle-class families, attending licensed, full-day home care.
Compared with their cortisol levels at home, 40 percent of the kids' cortisol levels were elevated enough in day care to indicate that they were under stress.
Cortisol increases were larger in situations where the caregivers were intrusive or controlling. Girls with larger increases acted anxious and vigilant at day care while boys were angry and aggressive.
"These findings indicate that the behavior of the care provider is associated with both how well children function at child care and how much their cortisol is elevated," study author Megan R. Gunnar, of the University of Minnesota, said in a news release.
For help selecting quality child care, visit childcare.gov.
SOURCES: James A. Griffin, Ph.D., deputy chief, Child Development and Behavior Branch, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, U.S. National Institutes of Health, Rockville, Md.; W. Steven Barnett, Ph.D., co-director, National Institute for Early Education Research, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J.; May 11, 2010, teleconference with: James Griffin and Deborah Lowe Vandell, Ph.D., professor and chair, department of education, University of California, Irvine; May/June 2010, Child Development
All rights reserved