Understanding cortisol reactivity across the day at child care: The potential buffering role of secure attachments to caregivers☆

Publication year: 2011
Source: Early Childhood Research Quarterly, In Press, Uncorrected Proof, Available online 14 June 2011

Lisa S., Badanes , Julia, Dmitrieva , Sarah Enos, Watamura

Full-day center-based child care has been repeatedly associated with rising cortisol across the child care day. This study addressed the potential buffering role of attachment to mothers and lead teachers in 110 preschoolers while at child care. Using multi-level modeling and controlling for a number of child, family, and child care factors, children with more secure attachments to teachers were more likely to show falling cortisol across the child care day. Attachment to mothers interacted with child care quality, with buffering effects found for children with secure attachments attending higher quality child care. Implications for early childhood educators are discussed.

 Highlights: ► Full-day center-based child care has been repeatedly associated with rising cortisol across the child care day. ► This study addressed the potential buffering role of attachment to mothers and lead teachers in 110 preschoolers while at child care. ► Children with secure attachments to teachers were more likely to show falling cortisol across the child care day. ► Attachment to mothers interacted with child care quality, with buffering effects found for children with secure attachments attending higher quality child care.