Cortisol Levels and Children’s Orientation in Day Care

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    Children’s stress in day care is related to the stressful qualities of the environment and on children’s orientations in that environment. The study involved 55 children in five day centers in Finland. Baseline saliva samples for measuring cortisol (stress) levels were collected five times during the day. Children were interviewed to measure their orientation in regard to perceived change. The educators of the groups evaluated the learning environment qualities. The high cortisol levels at the wake up time were correlated with chaotic, hectic and emotionally restricted learning environment qualities. However, in the afternoon the correlations between cortisol levels and learning environment had disappeared and were replaced by children’s orientation on change. Children with more accommodative views had lower cortisol levels and children with uncertain views had higher cortisol levels. The children’s different orientations seem to impact their stress levels and participate in the production of the learning environment stressful qualities.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalEarly Child Development and Care
    Issue number3-4
    Pages (from-to)363-381
    Number of pages19
    Publication statusPublished - 2012
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Fields of Science

    • 516 Educational sciences
    • cortisol, child development, children’s orientation, early childhood education

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