Sociology Mind
2012. Vol.2, No.4, 435-440
Published Online October 2012 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 435
Center-Based Child Extended Care: Implications for Young
Children’s Development in a Five-Year Follow-Up
Tokie Anme1, Emiko Tanaka1, Ryoji Shinohara1, Yuka Sugisawa1,
Taeko Watanabe1, Etsuko Tomisaki1, Uma A. Segal2
1University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Japan
2University of Missouri, St. Louis, USA
Received March 30th, 2012; revised May 17th, 2012; accepted May 28th, 2012
Effects of early extended child care on children’s functioning from age one year through the end of year
six were examined in the Japan Child Care Cohort Study. This longitudinal project sought to assess the
developmental and adaptation effects on children. Parents completed a survey on the childrearing envi-
ronment at home, their feelings of self-efficacy, and the available support for childcare. Childcare profes-
sionals evaluated the development of children. The results, using a panel cohort method, indicated that
although parenting was a stronger and more consistent predictor of children’s development than was the
early extended child-care experience, support from the spouse predicted higher vocabulary development.
Keywords: Extended Child Care; Child Development; Child Rearing Environment; Self-Efficacy
Large numbers of children in Japan experience routine non-
maternal child care during their infant, toddler, and preschool
years. In 2011, 2.1 million (33.1%) Japanese children, under the
age of five years, were in child care (Ministry of Health, La-
bour and Welfare, 2011). The increased number of working
mothers has led to the dramatic expansion of center-based child
care. As nonmaternal child care has become more common,
researchers and policy makers have become increasingly con-
cerned about its effects on children’s development (Belsky,
1988, 2001; Clarke-Stewart, 1989; Greenspan, 2003). High-
quality center-based extended care is essential for children
whose parents are employed in long hours that also include the
evening and night hours.
Some researchers have highlighted potentially beneficial
consequences of early child care, especially of high-quality care,
on social functioning (Peisner-Feinberg, 1997; Vandell, 1988),
as well as on cognitive-linguistic development or academic
achievement (Broberg, 1997; Burchinal, 2000). Others have
mentioned potentially adverse consequences, especially of long
hours of care initiated early in life, on socioemotional func-
tioning, including the emergence of behavior problems (Belsky,
2001; Vandell, 1990). Moreover, some have contended that
child-care “effects,” whether beneficial or detrimental, do not
endure beyond the preschool or early elementary school years
(Blau, 1999; Colwell, 2001; Deater-Deckard, 1996; Egeland,
1995), whereas others have claimed that child-care “effects” are
more long lasting (Belsky, 1988; Vandell, 1990) or endure for
some time, at least in the case of low-income children in high-
quality care (Campbell, 2001).
While studies of nonmaternal care are prevalent, there is less
empirical information regarding the effects of placing children
in nonmaternal care for long periods of time (11 + hours). Few
studies have assessed the influence of center-based extended
care on child development (Anme, 2010). Therefore, in the
present work, we used panel cohort data from the Japan Child
Care Cohort to ascertain whether the amount of time and child
rearing environment affected children’s social competence or
vocabulary/motor/intelligence development after five years.
Setting an d S am pl e
All authorized child-day-care centers across Japan partici-
pated in the study. Centers unauthorized by the government
were excluded as they often do not cooperate with external
investigators. The subjects were all parents and service provid-
ers in the authorized facilities. Parents who had a one-year-old
child were surveyed regarding the home environment, and ser-
vice providers evaluated the development of each child in the
facility. The valid response rate was 71.5% (1242) both for
parents and service providers. Children with diagnosed disabili-
ties and health problems were excluded from the study as these
characteristics were expected to confound results. Of the 1242
children sampled at age one, 888 were sampled again at age
five years, with both parents and service-providers evaluating
the children. Table 1 provides the gender and age composition
of the child population that was evaluated and the family struc-
ture, siblings, economic status, type of child care, and occupa-
tions of the parents. The distribution of boys, 449 (50.6%), and
girls, 439 (49.4%), was fairly even.
Overview of Measures
Indicators of child-care quantity, quality, stability, and type
(normal vs long) along with measures of family background,
mothering, child characteristics and child adaptation to cen-
ter-based care were obtained from questionnaires completed by
the parents responsible for the children in the first six years of
their lives (Appendix 1). Parents completed Japanese versions
of questionnaires on the child-rearing environment (Caldwell,
Table 1.
Demographic background of subjects.
Variable n %
Male 449 50.6
Female 439 49.4
Family structure
Nuclear family
Parents 666 90.1
Mother only 70 9.5
Father only 3 0.4
Extended family
Parents + grandparents 83 55.7
Mother + grandparents 21 14.1
Others 45 30.2
None 482 54.3
One or more 406 45.7
Economic status
Below tax payment minimum 432 48.6
Others 55 6.2
N.A. 398 44.8
Length of child care
<11 h 563 63.4
11 + h 325 36.6
Total 888 100.0
1984) and on self-efficacy and support for childcare (Anme,
1990, 1995).
Childcare professionals, the service providers, evaluated
children’s social competence, communication, and develop-
ment in vocabulary/motor/intelligence for each child using
developmental scales standardized in Japan (Tumori, 1974). All
childcare professionals, already qualified in child development,
were provided with a minimum of eight hours of training to
translate children’s development into the measures indicated on
the child development scale.
The two categories of childcare were identified by the time at
which children left the center-based care: “normal care” (use of
center-based care for less than 11 hours), and “long care” (use
of center-based care for 11 or more hours). Of the subjects, 563
(63.4%) were enrolled in “normal care” and 325 (36.6%) in
“long care.”
Family and child variables included the child’s gender and
age, child development, parent behavior, parent efficacy for
care, and the existence of childcare support. Professional care-
givers, who participated in a six-hour training session on how
to use the developmental scale , measured child development
along six variables (gross and fine motor skills, social compe-
tence, communication, vocabulary, and intelligence develop-
ment) that were categorized into 2-point items [(normal, de-
layed) Tumori, 1974] (See Table 2). These caregivers/service
providers in the center-based childcare facilities also evaluated
the health and disabilities of the children.
Parent behavior was assessed based on dichotomous re-
sponses (yes/no) to thirteen activities in the home environment.
For analysis, the 25th percentile point was used as a cut-off for
non-nominal items. Parents provided self reports on a five-point
scale, (where 1 = always, 2 = often, 3 = sometimes, 4 = rarely,
5 = never) to indicate their feelings of efficacy for care (Anme,
1998) and which reflected the parent’s affective state. Emotions
evaluated were depression, anxiety, instability, stress, and ex-
The difference between the two types of care was examined
by using items of child development, positive qualities of par-
ents’ behavior, parent efficacy for care, and existence of sup-
port for care. The Statistical Analysis System (SAS) statistical
package was used for analysis. Multiple regression analysis was
used to predict child development (delayed or normal) and
child adaptation to center-based care (adapted or not) after five
years using independent variables such as types of care (“night
care” or else), positive qualities of parents' behavior (measured
using 13 items), parent efficacy for care, and existence of sup-
port for care. Odds ratio was calculated to clarify the magnitude
of effects. Odds ratio was calculated by multiple logistic analy-
sis to estimate the strength of relations. All results that were
assessed significant at the p < .01 or p < .05 level, however, the
variable “types of care” was not selected as a related variable in
all analyses.
Table 2 reports the number of risks related to child devel-
As indicated in Table 3, a chi-square test was applied to the
data to assess child development five years later. Baseline fine
motor skills, social competence and communication develop-
ment was significantly related to intelligence development five
years later. Support from spouse was significantly related to
vocabulary and intelligence development five years later; ap-
propriate response to mistakes was related to vocabulary de-
velopment, support for child care was correlated with intelli-
gence development, and communication with parents was asso-
ciated with fine motor development.
Table 2.
Percentage of group at risk.
Variables Risk Non-risk
n % n %
Gross motor skills 17 1.9 871 98.1
Fine motor skills 16 1.8 872 98.2
Social competence 12 1.4 876 98.6
Communication skills 18 2.0 870 98.0
Vocabulary development24 2.7 864 97.3
Intelligence development18 2.0 870 98.0
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 437
Table 3.
Significant correlations between baseline variables and development after 5 years.
Risk Non-risk χ2
Independent variable Dependent variable
Na n
b %
c N n %
Gender Fine motor 439 13 2.9 449 3 0.7
Fine motor (baseline) Intelligence development46 4 9.0 842 14 1.7 *
Social competence (baseline) Intelligence development58 5 8.6 830 13 1.6 *
Communication (baseline) Intelligence development29 3 10.3 859 15 1.8 *
Support from spouse (baseline) Vocabulary development59 4 6.8 829 24 2.4 *
Intelligence development59 4 6.8 829 14 1.7 *
Appropriate response to mistakes (baseline) Vocabulary development54 4 7.4 834 20 2.4 *
Support for child care (baseline) Intelligence development201 8 4.0 687 10 1.5 *
Communication with parents (baseline) Fine motor 39 3 7.7 849 13 1.5 *
Note: *0.01 p < 0.05, aNumber of children “at risk” or “not at risk” at baseline for the independent measures; bNumber of children in each category (“at risk”
or “not at risk”) identified as being developmentally delayed on the dependent measure. cPercentage of children (n/N × 100).
Table 4 shows the results of multiple regression analysis.
Support from the spouse was significantly related to vocabulary
development five years later (odds ratio 4.07), appropriate re-
sponse to mistakes was related to vocabulary development
(odds ratio 4.35), and going to the park was related to fine mo-
tor development (odds ratio 2.90).
The aims of this study were to assess whether children’s ex-
periences in early child care and parenting facilitated their later
social and academic development. This paper represents the
latest installment in the ongoing study of relations between
experiences in child care in the first year of life and child de-
velopment using data gathered in the Japan Child Care Cohort.
Two issues were addressed in this paper: 1) whether associa-
tions linking child functioning with child-care quantity contin-
ued to be evident after five years, and 2) whether associations
between parenting at one-year-old and child development after
five years continued over time. We found evidence of relations
between parenting and child development, as well as evidence
that parenting quality proved to be a far stronger and more con-
sistent predictor of child development than was length of
child-care experiences. Associations linking child-care experi-
ence with child development after five years were smaller in
size and less pervasive than those associated with parenting.
This is not surprising because such results are consistent with
earlier study findings (Bacharach, 2003; Borge, 2004).
Some studies indicated that children who were placed in
nonmaternal care in the first year of life were more advantaged
relative to those who initiated into nonmaternal care in the sec-
ond or third year (Jaffee, 2011). These findings that differed
from those of the current study suggest that observed associa-
tions between the timing of entry into nonmaternal care and
children’s behavior and academic abilities can be confounded
by additional family characteristics that could influence child-
care choices and children’s outcomes.
It is possible that evidence for main effects of the timing of
placement in nonmaternal care is weak and inconsistent be-
cause these effects are qualified by interactions with child
characteristics or family circumstances. Borge (2004) have
shown that family characteristics such as maternal education,
SES, and composite measures of family risk moderate the effect
of nonmaternal care on children’s aggression, emotional prob-
lems, and language ability. They show that nonmaternal care is
a protective factor for children from socially disadvantaged
families but is not associated with cognitive or behavioral out-
comes for children from socially advantaged families. To the
extent that these findings can be replicated, they may lend sup-
port to efforts to subsidize high quality child care for low in-
come families and to expand programs like Early Head Start.
While interesting and raising questions about earlier studies,
these conclusions are preliminary and need to be tested more
rigorously before they can advance theory and inform policy.
The study may be benefit from replication. In addition, contin-
ued monitoring of the current sample may provide further in-
sight into the longer-term effects as children move through the
education system. Future studies may seek to assess not only
child development but correlations between the independent
variables and child behavior and adaptation to school and other
Examination of social and intelligence functioning in pre-
school represents an important next step in understanding the
relations between child care and developmental outcomes. Fu-
ture research will need to focus on classroom and playground
dynamics instead of focusing solely on individual child out-
We express our deepest gratitude to Japan Night Child Care
Alliance, President Amahisa, Vice-President Edamoto, all the
participants and staffs.
This research was supported by the Grants-in-Aid for Scien-
Table 4.
Correlation with risk factors following four year in care (multiple regression analysis includes all items—see below).
Gross motor Fine motor Vocabulary development
Variables Category Odds ratio p 95% range Odds ratiop 95% range Odds ratio p 95% range
Length of child care 11 + h 0.69 0.221 -2.1190.56 0.170-1.8391.20 0.503-2.881
<11 h 1
Gender Male 2.12 0.749 -6.0073.90 1.061-14.309 1.13 0.479-2.651
Female 1
Siblings None 0.85 0.303 -2.3921.21 0.421-3.4720.84 0.363-1.946
One or
more 1
Reading books Rare 0.35 0.042 -2.9701.75 0.422-7.2522.04 0.678-6.125
Other 1
Sing song together Rare - - -- 1.06 0.087-12.759- - --
Other 1
Support by spouse Rare 2.80 0.467 -16.8411.03 0.105-10.0884.07 1.023 -16.713
Other 1
Rare - - -- 2.33 0.219-24.8221.21 0.130-11.243
At least one meal with
parents Other 1
Risk 2.29 0.201 -26.0420.78 0.083-7.2294.35 1.166 -16.195
response to mistakes Non-risk 1
Risk 0.24 0.054 -1.0460.85 0.275-2.6380.58 0.219-1.541
Non-risk 1
Rare 0.79 0.078 -8.040 - - -- - - --
Going grocery store
together Other 1
Rare 2.90 1.023 -8.2220.56 0.148-2.1340.89 0.344-2.327
Going park with
child Other 1
* 1
Rare 1.24 0.449 -3.4180.77 0.263-2.2511.30 0.562-2.999
Going friend’s house
Other 1
No 1.88 0.614 -5.7670.73 0.179-3.0150.84 0.286-2.463
Support for child care
Yes 1
No 0.58 0.058 -5.8152.58 0.375-17.7890.94 0.103-8.597
Yes 1
Rare 2.02 0.226 -18.0263.76 0.374-37.7940.99 0.141-6.908
Talking with spouse
about child Other 1
Rare 3.10 0.529 -18.1503.20 0.720-14.1660.64 0.073-5.576
Confidence for child
care Other 1
Note: *0.01 p < 0.05; Input items: length of child care, gender, sibling, play with child, reading books, sing song together, support by spouse, at least one meal with
parents, appropriate response to mistakes, punishment, going grocery store together, going park together, going friend’s house, support for child care, consultation, talking
with spouse about child, confidence for child care, adaptation for center based care, age of start for center based care, fine motor (baseline)—a, social competence (base-
line)—b, vocabulary (baseline)—c, *(a-c) baseline variable was only input when that particular variable was being assessed.
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Appendix 1. Questionnaire (Extract)
1. How often do you play with your child per wee k?
1) rarely 2) 1 - 2 weeks 3) 3 - 4 weeks 4) 5 - 6 weeks
5) almost every day 6) other ( )
2. How often do y ou go shopping with your child?
1) rarely 2) 1 - 2 months 3) 1 - 2 weeks 4) 3 - 4 weeks
5) almost every day 6) other ( )
3. How often do you read to your child?
1) rarely 2) 1 - 2 months 3) 1 - 2 weeks 4) 3 - 4 weeks
5) almost every day 6) other ( )
4. How often do you sing songs with your child?
1) rarely 2) 1 - 2 months 3) 1 - 2 weeks 4) 3 - 4 weeks
5) almost every day 6) other ( )
5. How often do you go to the park with your child?
1) rarely 2) 1 - 2 months 3) 1 - 2 weeks 4) 3 - 4 weeks
5) almost every day 6) other ( )
6. How often do you and your child meet with friends or
relatives with children of a similar age?
1) rarely 2) 1 - 2 months 3) 1 - 2 weeks 4) 3 - 4 weeks
5) almost every day 6) other ( )
7. How often does your spouse, partner, or other care giver
help you with the child?
1) rarely 2) 1 - 2 months 3) 1 - 2 weeks 4) 3 - 4 weeks
5) almost every day 6) other ( )
8. How often does your child eat meals together with both
1) rarely 2) 1 - 2 months 3) 1 - 2 weeks 4) 3 - 4 weeks
5) almost every day 6) other ( )
9. What do you do if your child spills milk purposely?
1) hit the child 2) scold the child 3) discipline in another
way 4) determine how to prevent it in the future
5) other ( )
10. How many times did you hit or kick your child last
1) never 2) 1 - 2 times 3) 3 - 4times 4) 4 - 5 times
5) almost every day 6) other ( )
11. How many times do you have a chance to talk with your
partner about your child?
1) very little 2) 1 - 2 months 3) 1 - 2 weeks 4) 3 - 4 weeks
5) almost every day 6) other ( )
12. Does someone help you take care of your child?
1) Yes 2) No 3) other ( )
If yes, circle all the following that apply:
1) spouse 2) grandparent 3) friend 4) relative
5) neighbor 6) child care professionals from the nursery
7) director of nursery 8) baby-sitter 9) other staff at the
nursery 10) other ( )
13. Do you have someone to consult with about childcare?
1) Yes 2) No 3) other ( )
If yes, circle all the following that apply:
1) spouse 2) grandparent 3) friend 4) relative
5) neighbor 6) child care professionals from the nursery
7) director of nursery 8) baby-sitter 9) other staff at the
nursery 10) other ( )
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.