Can centre-based childcare buffer against the negative effects of family adversity on child socio-emotional wellbeing?

Parkes, A. , Green, M. and Pearce, A. (2021) Can centre-based childcare buffer against the negative effects of family adversity on child socio-emotional wellbeing? European Journal of Public Health, 31(3), pp. 474-481. (doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckab006) (PMID:33550396) (PMCID:PMC7611253)

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Background: Different configurations of family adversity affect children’s socio-emotional development differently; however, we lack knowledge of moderators amenable to policy intervention. This study explored whether early childhood centre-based childcare moderated the impact of family adversity configurations on socio-emotional development. Methods: Data were from the Growing Up in Scotland first birth cohort, born 2004–05. Latent class analysis of 19 early childhood family adversity indicators identified four classes: ‘Low Risk’ (68%), ‘Poor Maternal Health’ (16.5%), ‘Economic Hardship’ (10.0%) and ‘Multiple Adversities’ (5.5%). Latent growth models of externalizing and internalizing symptom trajectories (age 46–152 months, n = 3561) by family adversity controlled for confounding. Moderation by centre-based childcare use was examined through stratification. Results: Compared to ‘Low Risk’, high-risk classes had more externalizing and internalizing symptoms and internalizing symptoms increased at a faster rate, with ‘Multiple Adversities’ faring worst. The effects of ‘Economic Hardship’ on change in externalizing symptoms over time varied by childcare (P = 0.035): relative to the Low Risk group, symptoms increased (+0.04 points/year) among those not using childcare, and decreased (–0.09 points/year) among those who did. The effect of ‘Multiple Adversities’ on internalizing symptoms also varied (P = 0.034): +0.12 without centre-based childcare; +0.33 with centre-based childcare (patterns were similar for externalizing symptoms but with wide confidence intervals). No moderation was found by ‘Poor Maternal Health’. Conclusions: Centre-based childcare may alleviate disadvantages in socio-emotional wellbeing for children experiencing mainly economic hardship, but may exacerbate them for those experiencing multiple adversities. A better understanding of how early years’ services can support families with complex needs is required.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This research was supported by Medical Research Council grants MC_UU_12017/11 and MC_UU_12017/13, and Chief Scientist Office Grants SPHSU11 and SPHSU13. APe is additionally funded by a Wellcome Trust University Award (205412/Z/16/Z). The Growing Up in Scotland study is funded by the Scottish Government.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Green, Dr Michael and Pearce, Dr Anna and Parkes, Dr Alison
Authors: Parkes, A., Green, M., and Pearce, A.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:European Journal of Public Health
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN (Online):1464-360X
Published Online:07 February 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Authors
First Published:First published in European Journal of Public Health 31(3): 474-481
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
727631SPHSU Core Renewal: Relationships & Health Improvement Research ProgrammeLisa McDaidMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/11IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
727651SPHSU Core Renewal: Measuring and Analysing Socioeconomic Inequalities in Health Research ProgrammeAlastair LeylandMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/13IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
Chief Scientist Office (CSO)SPHSU11
Chief Scientist Office (CSO)SPHSU13
174091Improving life chances & reducing child health inequalities: harnessing the untapped potential of existing dataAnna PearceWellcome Trust (WELLCOTR)205412/Z/16/ZHW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit