Cortisol levels are widely used as a measurement of stress. This study examined the relationship between preschool aged children's cortisol levels and the amount of time spent at daycare centers. Furthermore, the relationship between children’s stress levels and their family environment (i.e., mother's employment status, family income), the children’s individual characteristics, and the quality of daycare centers was also examined.
The subjects were 243 children between 1 month to 6-years of age. Cortisol levels were measured via saliva samples taken from children attending daycare centers. The samples were collected three times, in the morning, the afternoon, and the evening. Mothers were asked to answer a questionnaire on family information; their child's characteristics and behavior; and their own depression and stress level. Teachers also answered a questionnaire on their personal information and the characteristics and behavior of each child in their class.
According to the findings, children who spent 10-12 hours at daycare centers demonstrated the lowest cortisol levels, lower than that of the children who spent less time at the center. The reason for the increase in cortisol secretion when staying at daycare centers for a shorter period of time may be due to the additional services experienced by those children. In other words, the use of additional services after daycare may cause more stress to the child.Also, the cortisol levels of younger children were higher than those of the older children. This explains the possibility that older children are better at coping with stress than younger children.
The findings of this research call for the provision of high-quality daycare, and the need to delay children’s entrance to day care centers.
Table Of Contents
Ⅱ. 이론적 배경 및 선행연구 고찰
Ⅲ. 육아지원기관 이용에 따른 아동의 스트레스 수준 및 변화
Ⅳ. 기관이용 아동의 스트레스호르몬 수준 및 변화 관련 요인
Ⅴ. 어린이집 이용 아동의 스트레스호르몬 조사 결과 시사점 및 제언