The emotional quality of childcare centers in Israel: The Haifa study of early childcare

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Data from an Israeli project shows higher proportion of insecurely attached infants in center care as compared with noncenter care (Sagi, Koren-Karie, Gini, Ziv, & Joels, 2002). The present study was designed to assess structural and emotional aspects characterizing infants' experiences in center care, aiming to explain, in part, the high incidence of attachment insecurity among center-care infants. In the present study, we focus on 151 center-care infants who were observed in the Ainsworth Strange Situation (Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters, & Wall, 1978) with their mothers. Sixty-one percent of them were coded as securely attached to their mothers while 39% were coded as insecurely attached. In addition, 56 directors and 120 caregivers in 56 centers were videotaped throughout a full-day observation. The Assessment Profile of Early Childhood Program (Abbott-Shim & Sibley, 1987) was also employed. Results indicated that the centers in Israel are of low standards: Large group size, high caregiver-infants ratio, inadequate professional training, and minimal attention to individual emotional needs. No associations were found between infants' attachment and various aspects of the settings. The low quality of the Israeli settings may explain the higher rate of attachment insecurity in center-care infants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-126
Number of pages17
JournalInfant Mental Health Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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