This study explored provider stress and provider-accumulated training as predictors of child active engagement in child care programs. Providers from 19 child care programs participated in a self-report of stress levels, using an adaptation of the Parent Stress Index-Short Form. Child psychosocial factors were assessed using the Devereux Early Childhood Assessment. Classroom observations of child engagement were assessed through direct observation using a modification of the Engagement Check II and E-Qual III. Results indicated that high provider stress and accumulated provider training hours are predictors of child engagement during free play in child care programs. Additionally, there was a significant interaction between provider training and provider stress, with accumulated training hours predicting high child engagement for those providers with high levels of stress. Thus, high training hours tended to assuage provider stress to a degree. Our results suggest the potentially mitigating effects of state-regulated child care training hours. They also suggest the need to address child care systematically during training and outreach programs. (author abstract)
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