Volume 80, Issue 1 p. 59-76

Multiple Child-Care Arrangements and Young Children’s Behavioral Outcomes

Taryn W. Morrissey

Corresponding Author

Taryn W. Morrissey

Society for Research in Child Development Congressional Fellow

concerning this article should be addressed to Taryn W. Morrissey, Office of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Chairman, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, 527 Hart Office Building, Washington, DC 20150. Electronic mail may be sent to [email protected].Search for more papers by this author
First published: 05 February 2009
Citations: 110

The author would like to thank Rachel Dunifon, Mildred Warner, Moncrieff Cochran, Francoise Vermeylen, the HD writing group, and colloquia attendees at Cornell University, Tufts University, the University of Pittsburgh, George Mason University, Providence College, the Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago, and MDRC for their helpful comments on earlier versions of this article. This research was supported by grant 90YE0089 from the Child Care Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and by a dissertation research grant from the College of Human Ecology, Cornell University. The contents are solely the responsibility of the author and do not represent the official views of the funding agency, nor does publication in any way constitute an endorsement by the funding agency.


Nationally, 15% of children younger than 5 years regularly attend more than 1 child-care arrangement. An association between arrangement multiplicity and children’s behavior problems has been identified, but previous research may be susceptible to measurement or omitted variable bias. This study used within-child fixed effects models to examine associations between changes in the number of concurrent, nonparental child-care arrangements and changes in mother- and caregiver-reported behavior among 2- and 3-year-old children in the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (N= 850). Increases in the number of arrangements were related to increases in children’s concurrent behavior problems and decreases in prosocial behaviors, particularly among girls and younger children. Implications for policy and research are discussed.