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Do Time in Child Care and Peer Group Exposure Predict Poor Socioemotional Adjustment in Norway?


  • This research was supported by Grants 175309/V50 and 170449/V50 from the Norwegian Research Council. No conflict of interest is declared. We thank all of the families who generously participated in our study.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Elisabet Solheim, Department of Psychology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Dragvoll, Trondheim 7491, Norway. Electronic mail may be send to


Extensive exposure to nonparental child care during the first 4.5 years of life has been demonstrated in some American studies to negatively affect children's socioemotional functioning. Data from 935 preschool children who averaged 54.9 (SD = 3.0) months of age, from Trondheim, Norway were used to examine whether such negative effects, would emerge in Norway, a country with a different child-care system. The children's externalizing problems and social competence were unrelated to their child-care experience. More time spent in child care during the first 4.5 years of life and experiencing peer groups of < 16 or > 18 children predicted greater caregiver–child conflict. The effect sizes were small. The results are discussed in terms of cross-national child-care differences.