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Pathways from teacher depression and child-care quality to child behavioral problems

The purpose of this study was to examine the associations among teacher depression, global child-care quality, and child internalizing and externalizing behavioral problems in early child-care settings. Method: We analyzed data from 3-year-old children (N = 761) and their mothers, primarily of disadvantaged socioeconomic status in urban areas, in the late 1990s using the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study. We also had data from the children's teachers, who reported their own depressed moods. Child behavioral problems were reported by both teachers and parents, and global environmental quality of child care was observed. Path analysis tested direct and indirect effects of teacher depression on children's behavioral problems via global child-care quality. Results: Teacher depression was directly and indirectly linked to teacher-reported externalizing and internalizing problems through observed global child-care quality, whereas for parent-reported outcomes, teacher depression was only directly related to children's internalizing problems. Conclusions: Results of this study suggest that teachers' depressive symptoms can be a contributor to global environmental child-care quality and to child externalizing and internalizing behavioral problems. Practical implications are that programs and policies must take into account effects of teacher depression on child-care quality and young children's school readiness regarding behavioral problems. Future research should further explore these relationships. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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