Family Factors, Childcare Quality, and Cognitive Outcomes

Elizabeth Puhn Pungello and Nicole Gardner-Neblett

in The Oxford Handbook of Poverty and Child Development

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199769100
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Family Factors, Childcare Quality, and Cognitive Outcomes

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  • Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology



The ecological model posits that dynamic associations among the environmental contexts in which children develop influence development. Two environments in which many young children develop today are the home and child care. Numerous studies have examined the effects of family factors and child care experiences on children's cognitive and language development. Of particular interest has been how the effects of these contexts might interact. While the weight of evidence supports the hypothesis that they do, such that the effects of early care experiences are stronger for higher risk children, not all studies find evidence for moderation. Further work is needed that investigates the interactions between specific proximal processes taking place in both the home and care environments and the underlying mechanisms that result in the interaction effects found, takes a strength-based approach rather than solely a deficit model of functioning in economically and culturally diverse families, and incorporates the experience of multiple care settings both concurrently and over time.

Keywords: poverty; home environment; child care; cognitive development; language outcomes

Article.  14041 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Developmental Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

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