Infant day care, parent‐child attachment, and developmental risk: A reply to caruso

Susan Berger*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In his paper, Caruso argues that discussing early entrance into infant day care as a risk factor for later development is neither justified based on the current body of available research nor useful in directing future investigations. He suggests we should return to the use of associational terminology in reporting on infant day care. This paper addresses Caruso's interpretation of a risk factor conceptualization and suggests an alternative theoretical model within which to view the connections between early day care attendance, mother‐child attachment, and subsequent developmental problems. One major factor influencing the debate about risk status and infant day care is the significance different researchers attribute to outcomes of insecure attachment. This reply contends that the developmental consequences of early insecurity may be more detrimental to overall Actaptation than Caruso suggests. Further, whereas limiting the reading of research results to purely associational findings may lead to less ideological controversy, it may not be the best strategy for generating hypotheses regarding the interactive roles that varying early ecological environments and parent‐child relationship patterns may have on child development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-373
Number of pages9
JournalInfant Mental Health Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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