Toddler Attachment in an Accredited Childcare: A Study Using the Strange Situation

Publication Date


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Arts in Education, Early Childhood Studies


Special and Early Childhood Education

Major Advisor

Judy French


Rickie Miller


Mary Olsen


Using the Strange Situation (Ainsworth et al., 1978) experiment, the purpose of this thesis was to provide additional information concerning the affects of time toddlers spend in a quality, accredited childcare to the toddler’s attachment to their mothers. The following hypothesis was proposed: Do toddlers, 12-months-old to 24-months-old, enrolled in a quality childcare (National Association for the Education of Young Children, NAEYC, accredited) program, 31 or more hours per week, have more insecure attachment compared to toddlers in the same program less than 30 hours per week?

Two groups of toddlers, group 1 (n=10) and group 2 (n=9) who attended the Boise State University Children’s Center were compared using the Fisher Exact test, to determine association of interactive behaviors and attachment classifications. The results of the attachment classification indicate that in the reunions episodes of the Strange Situation there was no significant difference between toddlers with 31 or more hours of childcare and those with 30 or less hours of childcare.

A single factor ANOVA was performed for each interactive category behavior captured on four 7-point scales: Proximity seeking, Contact maintaining, Avoidance of proximity and contact, and Resistance to contact and comforting. Results indicate there is no reliable association between toddler interactive category scores and time the children spend in childcare.

Fisher’s exact tests were also employed to determine whether there was any association between interactive behaviors and time spent in childcare. Results show with confidence no relationship between time and result behavior.

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