Same Place, Different Experiences: Bringing Individual Differences to Research in Child Care


  • The authors wish to thank Alisa Almas for her assistance with the manuscript.

concerning this article should be addressed to Deborah A. Phillips, Department of Psychology, Georgetown University, 301F White Gravenor, Washington, DC 20057; e-mail:


Abstract— This article argues that new research on temperament and on stress reactivity offers an exciting opportunity to reopen questions about how individual differences in children affect their responses to child care. It identifies key findings from these two areas of research and their intersection that point to reasons why evidence on child care reveals both adverse and beneficial effects on children’s developing social skills. The authors conclude that integrating research on temperament and stress reactivity in studies of child care will not only help to clarify when child care confers risks or benefits but will also bear on pressing questions regarding how early social experiences shape children’s futures.