Title

Time Stands Still: A Comparison of Time-Use Patterns Between Children Institutionalized in an Eastern European Orphanage and Typically Developing Children

Start Time

15-11-2002 10:30 AM

End Time

15-11-2002 11:45 AM

Abstract

Introduction: This investigation 1) described the time-use patterns of children institutionalized in an Eastern European orphanage to facilitate better understanding of factors affecting developmental delays documented in this population and 2) examined differences in time-use between institutionalized children and children in daycare in America. Research has indicated that how children occupy their time and the environment in which they engage affects skills and behavioral patterns throughout development (Burchinal et al., 2000). This view of time as an investment in development is congruent with the origins of time-use studies, which viewed time as a form of capital (Larson & Verma, 1999). Children residing in orphanages often experience delays in growth, language, intellect, motor skills, socio-emotional development and behavioral skills (Gunnar, Bruce, & Grotevant, 2000). Exposure to severe privation is often postulated to contribute to the developmental delays of institutionalized children; however, no studies have specifically described children's activities in orphanages. Methods: Participants for this investigation consisted of 32 infants and toddlers between 8 and 34 months of age: 16 children residing in a Romanian orphanage and 16 typical, family-reared children attending full-day daycare matched for age and gender. Investigators and research assistants observed the children using spot observations (Super & Harkness, 1999) at 1 0-minute intervals and recorded the following observations: who was with the child, what the child was doing, the activity structure (engaged 1:1, 1:2, monitored, etc.), where the child was, the child's observable affect, the room activity and any materials used. These categories are based on the Preschool Time Diary of the Panel Study for Income Dynamics- Child Development Supplement (Child Development Supplement, 1997). Inter-rater reliability of the primary investigators and five research assistants was established at .92 (.81-.98). Institutionalized children spent 70% of their time alone. They spent about half of their time monitored by an adult and an adult directly mediated one-quarter of their activities. The institutionalized children most frequently engaged in down time (no activity, 35% of their time), play (27%), sleep (20%) and activities of daily living (12%). The day care group most frequently engaged in play (25%), sleep (23%), other (17%) and activities of daily living (16%). Conclusions: This investigation begins to empirically describe the institutional experience. Significant differences between the types and structuring of activities may highlight factors related to delays observed in institutionalized children; further investigation with assessments of development and quality of childcare would be helpful. Limitations of the study include the modest sample size, the use of only 3 sites and time-use observations made in different seasons.

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Nov 15th, 10:30 AM Nov 15th, 11:45 AM

Time Stands Still: A Comparison of Time-Use Patterns Between Children Institutionalized in an Eastern European Orphanage and Typically Developing Children

Introduction: This investigation 1) described the time-use patterns of children institutionalized in an Eastern European orphanage to facilitate better understanding of factors affecting developmental delays documented in this population and 2) examined differences in time-use between institutionalized children and children in daycare in America. Research has indicated that how children occupy their time and the environment in which they engage affects skills and behavioral patterns throughout development (Burchinal et al., 2000). This view of time as an investment in development is congruent with the origins of time-use studies, which viewed time as a form of capital (Larson & Verma, 1999). Children residing in orphanages often experience delays in growth, language, intellect, motor skills, socio-emotional development and behavioral skills (Gunnar, Bruce, & Grotevant, 2000). Exposure to severe privation is often postulated to contribute to the developmental delays of institutionalized children; however, no studies have specifically described children's activities in orphanages. Methods: Participants for this investigation consisted of 32 infants and toddlers between 8 and 34 months of age: 16 children residing in a Romanian orphanage and 16 typical, family-reared children attending full-day daycare matched for age and gender. Investigators and research assistants observed the children using spot observations (Super & Harkness, 1999) at 1 0-minute intervals and recorded the following observations: who was with the child, what the child was doing, the activity structure (engaged 1:1, 1:2, monitored, etc.), where the child was, the child's observable affect, the room activity and any materials used. These categories are based on the Preschool Time Diary of the Panel Study for Income Dynamics- Child Development Supplement (Child Development Supplement, 1997). Inter-rater reliability of the primary investigators and five research assistants was established at .92 (.81-.98). Institutionalized children spent 70% of their time alone. They spent about half of their time monitored by an adult and an adult directly mediated one-quarter of their activities. The institutionalized children most frequently engaged in down time (no activity, 35% of their time), play (27%), sleep (20%) and activities of daily living (12%). The day care group most frequently engaged in play (25%), sleep (23%), other (17%) and activities of daily living (16%). Conclusions: This investigation begins to empirically describe the institutional experience. Significant differences between the types and structuring of activities may highlight factors related to delays observed in institutionalized children; further investigation with assessments of development and quality of childcare would be helpful. Limitations of the study include the modest sample size, the use of only 3 sites and time-use observations made in different seasons.