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International Journal of Early Childhood

, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 143–170 | Cite as

Relating Child Care During Infancy to Externalizing and Internalizing Behaviors in Toddlerhood: How Specific Features of Child Care Quality Matter Depending on a Child’s Gender and Temperament

  • Lise Lemay
  • Nathalie Bigras
  • Caroline Bouchard
Original Article

Abstract

This study explored whether the relationships between specific features of child care quality and externalizing and internalizing behaviors in 24-month-old children are moderated by gender and temperament. Questionnaires were used to record children’s gender and measure their temperament. Child care quality was observed with the Échelles d’observation de la qualité éducative (Educative Quality Observation Scale), an observation scale series based on the local specificities of the educational program mandated for Quebec’s child care service. Externalizing and internalizing behaviors of each child were measured with the Child Behavior Checklist 2/3. Results confirm the moderation hypothesis of child gender and temperament in the relationship between child care quality and child behaviors for externalizing behaviors only; internalizing behaviors were predicted by child temperament and child care quality individually. The discussion stresses the significance of high levels of child care quality in order to ensure lower rates of externalizing behaviors among girls and temperamentally difficult children, as well as lower rates of internalizing behaviors among all children. These findings have practical implications in support of individualized educational practices under certain circumstances. Finally, the study provides empirical support for an ecological perspective in the study of the influence of child care quality on child outcomes.

Keywords

Child care services Child care quality Temperament Gender Externalizing behaviors Internalizing behaviors 

Résumé

Cette étude explore si la relation entre la qualité des processus offerte à 18 mois et les comportements extériorisés et intériorisés des enfants de 24 mois qui fréquentent un service de garde depuis leur première année de vie est modérée par leur genre et leur tempérament. Les informations sur le genre et le tempérament de l’enfant ont été recueillies à l’aide de questionnaires. La qualité des processus a été observée avec les Échelles d’observation de la qualité éducative, une série de grilles d’observation conçue spécifiquement pour mesurer la qualité en cohérence avec les pratiques recommandées dans le programme éducatif du Québec. Les comportements extériorisés et intériorisés de l’enfant ont été mesurés à 24 mois à l’aide de la version française du Child Behavior Checklist 2/3. Les résultats confirment le rôle de modération du genre et du tempérament de l’enfant seulement dans l’association entre une dimension de la qualité des processus et les comportements extériorisés; les comportements intériorisés quant à eux sont prédits par la contribution individuelle du tempérament de l’enfant et d’une dimension de la qualité des processus. La discussion souligne l’importance de niveaux de qualité élevés pour favoriser une manifestation moindre de comportements extériorisés chez les filles et les enfants présentant un tempérament difficile, ainsi qu’une manifestation moindre de comportements intériorisés auprès de tous les enfants. La discussion aborde les retombées de ces résultats pour la pratique en soulignant la nécessité d’individualiser l’intervention éducative sous certaines conditions. Enfin, les résultats de cette étude appuient le fait d’explorer l’influence de la qualité des services de garde dans une perspective écologique.

Resumen

Este estudio explora si la relación entre la calidad educativa ofrecida a niños y niñas pequeños y los comportamientos externos e internos de los niños de 24 meses que frecuentan un centro de cuidado infantil desde su primer año de vida, está moderada o mediatizada por su género y su temperamento. La información sobre el género y el temperamento de los niños se ha recopilado mediante cuestionarios. La calidad educativa se ha observado con las Échelles d’observation de la qualité éducative, una serie de escalas de observación concebidas especialmente para medir la calidad, de acuerdo con las prácticas recomendadas en el programa educativo de la provincia de Quebec (Canadá). Los comportamientos externos e internos de los niños y niñasse midieron durante 24 meses con la versión francesa de la Child Behavior Checklist 2/3. Los resultados confirman el papel del género y el temperamento de los niños como moderadores o mediatizadores de su comportamiento, apreciándose una asociación entre una dimensión de la calidad educativa y los comportamientos externos, únicamente; los comportamientos internos se predicen mediante la contribución individual del temperamento de los niños/as y de sólo una dimensión de la calidad educativa. La discusión subraya la importancia de un nivel de calidad elevado para favorecer una menor manifestación de comportamientos externos en las niñas y en los niños con un temperamento difícil, así como una menor manifestación de comportamientos internos en todos los niños/as. La discusión aborda las repercusiones de estos resultados para la práctica, subrayando la necesidad de individualizar la intervención educativa bajo ciertas condiciones. Por último, los resultados de este estudio apoyan la afirmación de que se debe explorar la influencia de la frecuencia de asistencia de los centros de cuidado infantil bajo una perspectiva ecológica.

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors wish to acknowledge the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Council on Learning and the Université du Québec à Montréal for financing this study. Also, our warmest gratitude goes to the children, families, child care educators who invested their valuable time by participating in the study as well as to the research professionals and assistants who gathered the data. We would like to thank the editor and reviewers for their insightful comments as well as a valuable colleague, Joanne Lehrer, who provided helpful feedback on a previous version of the manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lise Lemay
    • 1
  • Nathalie Bigras
    • 1
  • Caroline Bouchard
    • 2
  1. 1.Département de didactique, Faculté des sciences de l’éducationUniversité du Québec à MontréalMontréalCanada
  2. 2.Pavillon des sciences de l’éducation, Département d’études sur l’enseignement et l’apprentissage, Bureau 1234Université LavalQuébecCanada

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