Behavior problems among young children in low-income urban day care centers

Deborah Gross, Andrea Sambrook, Louis Fogg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purposes of this study were to describe: (a) the frequency and correlates of behavior problems among a sample of 2-and 3-year-old children from low-income families as seen by their parents and day care teachers, (b) the degree to which parents and teachers agree about the children's behavior problems in their respective contexts, and (c) family characteristics that distinguish toddlers with behavior problems both at home and at day care from the rest of the sample. Parents of 133 toddlers from 10 Chicago day care centers completed measures of child behavior problems, child behavioral intensity, parenting self-efficacy, discipline strategies, and stress. Children's day care teachers also completed a measure of child behavior problems. Parent-reported behavior problems were associated with higher child behavioral intensity, greater parent stress, lower self-efficacy, and discipline strategies characterized by irritability, coercion, and inconsistency. Parent and teacher ratings on child behavior were correlated for boys' behavior problems only. Parents reported more child behavior problems than teachers. Approximately 8% of the children were rated as having behavior problems at home and at day care. Although most of the children are functioning well, many of these parents and toddlers are engaged in highly stressful and coercive relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-25
Number of pages11
JournalResearch in Nursing and Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Behavior problems
  • Day care
  • Toddlers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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