Short and Long Term Effects on Infants and Toddlers in Full Time Daycare Centers
Publication Date:May 2001
Full-time daycare for infants and toddlers is stressful. This negative state is induced by perception of maternal rejection and abandonment, lack of an ongoing empathic dyadic relationship with the mother, and having to interact with multiple caregivers. The lack of empathic care the children are experiencing creates a growth-inhibiting environment that produces immature, physiologically undifferentiated orbital affect regulatory systems and parcellation of corticolimbic circuitries. Daycare stress is activating each child's hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis on a daily basis causing a persistent overproduction of corticotropin-release factor (CRF) and an ongoing release of abnormally high levels of stress hormones such as cortisol and the catecholamines, hormones that may disrupt the neurobiological maturation of the developing brain and destroy brain cells. These stress-induced impairments are implicated in an enduring vulnerability to various later-forming psychiatric disorders such as depression, chronic anxiety, attachment disorders, dissociative disorders, learning disorders, and attention deficit-hyperactivity (ADHD). The empathic dyadic attachment and secure attachment needed for the experience-dependent maturation of the regulatory system in the orbital prefrontal cortex may not be possible in a full-tune daycare setting. The infants and toddlers in daycare often develop insecure-avoidant attachment or non-attachment disorders.
Ainsworth, M., Blehar, M.C., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978). Patterns of attachment, Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaun.
Anderson, S.W., Bechara, A., Demasio, H., Tranel, D., & Demasio, A.R. (1999). Impairment of social and moral behavior related to early damage in human prefrontal cortex. Nature neuroscience, 2, 1032-1037.
Andersson, B-E. (1989). Effects of public daycare-a longitudinal study. Child Development, 60, 857-860.
Andersson, B-E. (1992). Effects of day-care on cognitive and socioemotional competence of thirteen-year-old Swedish schoolchildren. Child Development, 63, 20-36.
Arborelius, L, Owen, M.J., Plotsky, P.M., & Nemeroff, C.B. (1999). The role of corticotropin-releasing factor in depression and anxiety disorders. Journal of Endocrinology, 160, 1-12.
Arnsten, A.F.T. (1999). Development of the cerebral cortex: XIV. Stress impairs prefrontal cortical function. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 38, 220-222.
Barglow, P., Vaughn, B.E., & Molitor, N. (1987). Effects of maternal absence due to employment on the quality of infant-mother attachment in a low-risk sample. Child Development, 58, 945-954.
Belsky, J. (1988). The "effects" of infant day care reconsidered. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 3, 235-272.
Belsky, J. (1999). Quantity of nonmaternal care and boys behavior/adjustment at ages 3 and 5: Exploring the mediating role of parenting. Psychiatry, 62, 1-21.
Belsky, J., & Rovine, M.J. (1988). Nonmaternal care in the first year of life and the security of infant-parent attachment. Child Development, 59, 157-167.
Belsky, J., & Rovine, M.J. (1990). Q-sort maturity and first-year nonmaternal care. In K. McCartney (Ed.), Child maternal care and maternal employment: A social ecology approach. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Benson, D.F. (1991). The role of the frontal dysfunction in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Journal of Child Neurology, 6 (supplement), S9-S12.
Bower, T.G.R. (1989). The rational infant. New York: W.R. Freeman and Company.
Bowlby, J. (1973). Attachment and loss, volume 2: Separation: Anxiety and anger. New York: Basic Books.
Bowlby, J. (1982). Attachment and loss: Retrospect and prospect. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 52, 664-678.
Bowlby, J. (1982a). Attachment and loss, volume 1, Attachment. New York: Basic Books.
Bremner, J.D. (1999). Does stress damage the brain? Biological Psychiatry, 45, 797-805.
Carter, C.S., & Altemus, M. (1997). Integrative functions of lactational hormones in social behavior and stress management. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 807, 164-174.
Chase-Lansdale, P.L., & Owen, M.T. (1987). Maternal employment in a family context: effects on infant-mother and infant-father attachments. Child development, 58, 1505-1512.
Clark-Stewart, K.A. (1988). The effects of infant day-care reconsidered: Risks for parents, children, and researchers. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 3, 293-318.
Cotterell, J.I. (1986). Work and community influences on the quality of child rearing. Child Development, 57, 362-374.
Crittenden, P.M. (1983). The effects of mandatory protective daycare on mutual attachment in maltreating mother-infant dyads. Child Abuse and Neglect, 7, 297-300.
De Boer, S.F., DeBeun, R., Slagen, J.L., & Van der Gugten, J. (1990). Dynamics of plasma cetacholamine and cortricosterone concentrations during reinforced and extinguished behavior in rats. Physiology and Behavior, 47, 691-698.
Dettling, A.C., Gunnar, M.R, & Donzella, B. (1999). Cortisol levels of young children in full- day childcare centers: Relations with age and temperament, Psychoneuroendocrinology, 24, 514-536.
Egeland, B., & Heister, M. (1995). The long term consequences of infant day-care and mother- infant attachment. Child Development, 66, 474-485.
Elias, M. (1999, November 30). Kids and depression: Are drugs the answer? USA Today, 1A, 2A.
Emde, R.N. (1988). Development terminable and indeterminable. I. Innate and motivational factors from infancy. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 69, 23-42.
Emerson, W. (1999). Shock: A universal malady. Petaluma, CA: Emerson Training Seminars.
Etaugh, C. (1980). Effects of nonmaternal care in children: Research evidence and popular views. American Psychologist, 35, 309-319.
Fein, G.G., Gariboldi, A., & Boni, R. (1993). The adjustment of infants and toddlers to group care: The first 6 months. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, S, 1-14.
Harlow, H.F. (1960). Primary affectional patterns in primates. American Journal Orthopsychology 30, 676-684.
Harlow, H.F. (1962). The heterosexual affectional system in monkeys. American Psychologist, 17, 1-9.
Heim, C., Owens, M.J., Plotsky, P.M., & Nemeroff, C.B. (1997). Endocrine factors in the pathophysiology of mental disorders. Psychopharmacology Bulletin, 33, 185-192.
Henry, J.P. (1992). Biological basis of stress response. Integrative Physiological and Behavioral Science, 27, 66-83.
Henry, J., & Wang, S. (1998). Affects of early stress on adult affiliative behavior. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 23, 863-875.
Hofer, M.A. (1990). Early symbiotic processes: Hard evidence from a soft place. In R. A. Glick & S. Bone (Eds.), Pleasure beyond the pleasure principle (pp. 55-78). New Haven: Yale University Press.
Hofferth, S.L. (1996). Child care in the United States today. The Future of Children, 6, 41-61.
Hoffman, L.W. (1974). Effects of maternal employment on the child-A review of the research. Developmental Psychology, 10, 204-228.
Kiess, W., Meidert, A., Dressendörfer, R.A., Schriever, K., Kessler, U., König, A, Schwarz, H., P., & Strasburger, C.J., (1995). Salivary cortisol levels throughout childhood and adolescence: Relation with age, pubertal stage, and weight. Pediatric Research, 37, 502-506.
Ladd, C.O., Huot, R.L., Thrivikraman, K.V., Nemeroff, C.B., Meaney, M.J., & Plotsky, P.M. (2000). Long-term behavioral and neuroendocrine adaptations to adverse life experiences. Progress in Brain Research, 122, 81-102.
Lane, S., & Donzella, B. (1999, April). Cortisol, napping and temperament in 24 and 36 month olds. Poster session presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Albuquerque, NM.
Levine, P.A. (1997). Waking the tiger. Berkeley, CA: North Atlanta Books.
Levine, S., Wiener, S.G., & Cole (1993). Temporal and social factors influencing behavioral and hormonal responses to separation in mother and infant squirrel monkeys. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 18, 297-306.
Levine, S. & Ursin, H.T. (1991). What is Stress? In: M.R. Brown, G.C. Koob, & G.C., River, (Eds.), Stress, Neurobiology and Neuroendocrinology. New York: Marcel Dekker.
Lieberman, A. F., & Zeanah, C.H. (1995). Disorders of attachment in infancy. Infant Psychiatry, 4, 576-577.
Lipton, B., (2000, October). The science and psychology ofpre and perinatal attachment. Presentation at the Twelfth Annual Conference on Attachment and Bonding, Minneapolis, MN.
Lovallo, W.R., Pincomb, G.A., Brackett, D.J., & Wilson, M.F. (1990). Heart rate reactivity as a predictor of neuroendocrine responses to aversion and appetitive challenges. Psychosomatic Medicine, 52, 17-26.
Lundberg, U., & Frankenhaeuser, M. (1980). Pituitary-adrenal and sympathetic-adrenal correlates of distress and effort. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 24, 125-130.
MacLean, P.D. (1990). The triune brain in evolution, New York: Plenum Press.
Mantagos, S., Moustogiannis, A., & Vagenakis (1998). Diurnal variations of plasma cortisol levels in infancy. Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology & Metabolism, 11, 549-553.
Mason, J.W., Giller, E.L., Kosten, T.R., & Harkness, L. (1988). Elevation of urinary norepinephrine/cortisol ratio in posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 178, 498-502.
McGurk, H., Caplan, M., Hennessy, E., & Moss, P. (1993). Controversy, theory and social context in contemporary day care research. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 34, 3-23.
Nemeroff, C.B. (1998). The eurobiology of depression. Scientific American, 278, 40-49.
NICHD Early Child Care Research Network (1997). The effect of infant child care on infant- mother attachment security: Results of the NICHD of early child care. Child Development, 69, 860-879.
NICHD Early Child Care Research Network (1999). Child care and mother-child interaction in the first 3 years of life. Developmental Psychology, 35, 1399-1413.
Noonan, L.R., Caldwell, Jack D., Li Li, Walker, C.H., Pedersen, C.A., & Mason,G.A.(1994). Neonatal stress transiently alters the development of hippocampal oxytocin receptors. Development Brain Research 80, 115-120.
Perry, B.D. (1994. Neurobiological sequelae of childhood trauma: Post traumatic stress disorders in children. In M. Murberg (Ed.), Catecholamine function in post traumatic stress disorder: Emerging concepts (pp. 253-276). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press.
Perry, B.D. (1997). Incubated in terror: Neurodevelopmental factors in the "cycle of violence". In J. Osofsky (Ed.), Children in a Violent Society (p. 133). New York: Guilford Press.
Perry, B.D. (ed.) (1999). Bonding and attachment in maltreated children. Child Trauma Academy: Parent and Caregiver Education Series, 1(4). Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX.
Perry, B.D., & Pollard, R. (1998). Homeostasis, stress, and adoption. A neurodevelopmental view of childhood trauma. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 7, 33-51.
Perry, B.D., Pollard, R.A., Blakley, T.L., Baker, W.L., & Vigilante, D. (1995). Childhood trauma, the neurobiology of adaptation, and "use-dependent" development of the Brain: How states become traits. Infant Mental Health Journal, 16, 271-291.
Perry, B.D., Runyan, D., & Sturges, C. (1998). Bonding and attachment in maltreated children; How abuse and neglect in childhood impact social and emotional development. Civitas Academy, Caregivers Education Series, 1(5). Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX
Porges, S.W., (1992). Vagal tone: A physiologic marker of stress vulnerability. Pediatrics, 90, 498-504.
Porges, S.W. (1994). Orienting in a defensive world: Mammalian modifications of our evolutionary heritage. A polyvagal theory. Psychophysiology, 32, 301-318.
Porges, S.W. (1995). Cardiac vagal tone: a physiological index of stress. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 19, 225-233.
Porges, S.W. (1997). Emotion: an evolutionary by-product of the autonomic nervous system. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 15, 62-77.
Porges, S.W. (1998). Love: An emergent property of the mammalian autonomic nervous system. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 23, 837-861.
Putnam, F.W. (1991). Dissociative disorders in children and adolescents. Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 14, 519-531.
Putnam, F.W. (1991a). Recent research on multiple personality disorders. Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 14, 489-502.
Raine, A. (1996). Autonomic nervous system factors underlying disinhibited, antisocial, and violent behavior: Biosocial perspectives and treatment implications. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 794, 46-59.
Raine, A., Brennan, P., & Mednick, S.A. (1994). Birth complications combined with early maternal rejection at age 1 year predisposes to violent crime at age 18 years. Archives of General Psychiatry, 51, 984-988.
Russek, L.G., & Schwartz, G.E. (1994). Interpersonal heart-brain registration and the perception of parental love: A 42 year follow-up of the Harvard Mastery of Stress study. Subtle Energies, 5, 195-208.
Scarr, S., (1998). American child care today. American Psychologist, 53, 95-108.
Schore, A.N. (1996). The experience-dependant maturation of a regulatory system in the orbital prefrontal cortex and the origin of developmental psychopathology. development and Psychopathology, 8, 59-87.
Schore, A.N. (1997). Early organization of the nonlinear right brain and development of a predisposition to psychiatric disorders. Development and Psychopathology, 9, 595-631.
Shore, R. (1997). Rethinking the brain: New insights into early development. New York: Family and Works Institute.
Silberstein, R.B., Farrow, M., Levy, F., Pipingas, A., Hay, D., & Jannan, F. (1998). Functional brain electrical activity mapping in boys with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Archives General Psychiatry, 55, 1105-1112.
Solter, A. (1995). Why do babies cry? Pre and Perinatal Psychology Journal, 10, 21-43.
Sperling, M.B., & Berman, W.H. (1994). Attachment in adults: Clinical and Developmental Perspectives. London: The Guilford Press.
Suomi, S.J., Delizio, R. & Harlow, H.F., (1976). Social rehabiliation of separation-induced depressive disorders in monkeys. American Journal of Psychiatry, 133, 1279-1285.
Tiller, W.A., McCraty, R., & Atkinson, M. (1996). Cardiac coherence: A new noninvasive measure of nervous system order. Alternative Therapies, 2, 52-65.
Tout, K., de Haan, M., Campbell, E.K., & Gunner, M.R. (1998). Social behavior correlates of cortisol activity in child care: Gender differences and time-of-day effects. Child Development, 69, 1247-1262.
Trad, P.V. (1986). Infant depression. New York: Springer-Verlag
Uvnäs-Moberg, K. (1997). Oxytocin linked antistress effects in the relaxation and growth response. Acta Physiologica Scandinavia Supplement, 640, 38-42.
Uvnäs-Moberg, K. (1998). Oxytocin may mediate the benefits of positive social interaction and emotions. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 23, 819-835.
van der Kolt, B.A., & Fisler, R.E. (1994). Child abuse and neglect and loss of self regulation. Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, 58, 145-168.
van der Meere, J., & Sergeant, J. (1988). Acquisition of attention skills in pervasively hyperactive children. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 29, 301-310.
Vandell, D.L., & Corasaniti, M.A. (1990). Variations in early child care: Do they predict subsequent social, emotional, and cognitive differences? Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 5, 555-572.
Verrier, N.N. (1991). The primal wound. Baltimore: Gateway Press.
Violate, C., & Rüssel, C. (1994). Effects of nonmaternal care on child development: A meta- analysis of published research. Abstract, Canadian Psychology, 35:2a, 100. Paper presented at a meeting of the Canadian Psychological Association, Penticton, British Columbia. A copy of the paper is available from the authors at the Department of Educational Psychology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada T2N 1N4.
Witt, D.M., Winslow, J.T., & Insel, T.R. 1992. Enhanced social interaction in rats following chronic, centrally induced oxytocin. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 43, 855-886.
Zulueta, F. de (1993). From pain to violence. Northvale, New Jersey: Jason Aronson, Inc.
Henry Brandtjen, M.A. and Thomas Verny, M.D., D.Psych., FRCP(C)
1 Henry Brandtjen received his MA from the Dept. of Human Development at St. Mary's University, Minneapolis, MN. Thomas Verny, M.D., is Adj. Prof, in the same Department as well as on the faculty of the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute. Henry Brandtjen may be reached at 2184 Lower St. Dennis Rd., St. Paul, MN 55116. Phone: 651 690-2342 email: HABii@aol.com