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Infant-toddler teachers’ early adversity, current wellbeing, and engaged support of early learning


The purpose of this study was to examine the psychological wellbeing of infant-toddler child care teachers in a mid-Atlantic city (n = 160; 69% African American, 98% women) and to explore associations with teaching intentions and quality. Using survey measures and classroom observations, we tested associations between teachers’ adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), depressive symptoms, work related wellbeing (i.e., perceived organizational functioning and workload), intentions to continue teaching, and teaching quality. We found that infant-toddler teachers experienced similar levels of ACEs to Early Childhood Education (ECE) teachers in other studies. However, rates of depressive symptoms were relatively high in this sample (27% scored in the clinical range). Both ACEs and depressive symptoms were associated with teachers’ work-related wellbeing. Notably, individual-level ACEs (e.g., household dysfunction and abuse) were associated with depressive symptoms and organizational wellbeing, whereas community ACEs (e.g., neighborhood safety) were not. Organizational wellbeing was significantly and positively associated with the number of years that infant-toddler teachers intended to continue working at their child care centers. Multilevel regression models indicated that community level ACEs and current depressive symptoms were significantly associated with teachers’ engaged support for toddlers’ learning. When knowledge of child development was added to the model, depressive symptoms were no longer uniquely associated with engaged support for learning. However, community-level ACEs remained a significant correlate. These findings show that infant and toddler teachers may need more resources to support their psychological wellbeing so that they can support children in the classroom. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

Related resources include summaries, versions, measures (instruments), or other resources in which the current document plays a part. Research products funded by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation are related to their project records.

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