Children are less likely to be delinquent if supervised after school

November 03, 2003

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Children between the ages of 10 and 14 who are supervised after school are less likely than those who are home alone to engage in risky or anti-social behavior such as skipping school, using alcohol or drugs, stealing something or hurting someone, according to a new Brown University study.

The findings suggest childcare programs should be expanded beyond the historic focus of programs for preschool-age children to include older children who stand to gain considerably from greater adult supervision between the end of the school day and a parent's return from work, said Anna Aizer, assistant professor of economics, who led the research.

Aizer's study focused on behavioral problems among the largely unstudied school-age population because research has shown these outcomes are important predictors of success in the labor market. The data consisted of 3,726 children age 10 to 14, born to 2,161 mothers, and gathered from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth Child-Mother file since 1988. Forthcoming in the Journal of Public Economics, the study is available online by accessing "articles in press" at www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/00472727

Thirty-two percent of all children in the study reported engaging in any of the four behaviors: truancy, alcohol or drug use, theft, or hurting someone. The probability of engaging in each of the behaviors decreased significantly - by at least 23 percent - when a child was supervised after school. Even within the same family, when children are supervised they are less likely to engage in each of the behaviors than an unsupervised sibling, said Aizer.

In addition to the effect of supervision, some of the child and maternal characteristics also had a significant effect on whether or not children engaged in these behaviors. Males were more likely than females to engage in the behaviors; older children were more likely than the younger members of this age group to engage in the behaviors. Also, mothers without a high school diploma were more likely than those with a high school diploma to have children who engaged in any of the behaviors.

The findings controlled for unobserved family or maternal characteristics that may be correlated with child behavior, such as parental permissiveness.

In this study, 25 percent of all children age 10 to 14 reported that an adult was not usually present when they returned from school. Previous research has found that employed parents use a variety of after-school childcare arrangements for children age 5 to 14, the most common of which is in-home care by a non-parent.

The demand for after-school childcare has increased with the number women working outside of the home. Estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau indicate that 78 percent of women with school-age children were in the labor force in 1999, compared to 33 percent in 1950.

In addition, the number of single mothers who work recently increased as a result of state welfare reform efforts that began in the mid-90s. Between 1994 and 1998, welfare caseloads dropped by 48 percent, and the proportion of unmarried female family heads with dependent children rose from 66 to 78 percent, further increasing the need for childcare among low-income families.

The study was supported by the Social Science Research Council's Program in Applied Economics.
-end-


Brown University

Related Children Articles from Brightsurf:

Black and Hispanic children in the US have more severe eczema than white children
A presentation at this year's virtual American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting reveals the disparities that exist for Black and Hispanic children when it comes to Atopic Dermatitis (AD), commonly known as eczema.

Black children with cancer three times less likely to receive proton radiotherapy than White children
A retrospective analysis led by investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital has found racial disparities in the use of the therapy for patients enrolled in trials.

The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health: First Europe-wide study of children confirms COVID-19 predominately causes mild disease in children and fatalities are very rare
Children with COVID-19 generally experience a mild disease and fatalities are very rare, according to a study of 582 patients from across Europe published today in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal.

Children not immune to coronavirus; new study from pandemic epicenter describes severe COVID-19 response in children
- While most children infected with the novel coronavirus have mild symptoms, a subset requires hospitalization and a small number require intensive care.

How many children is enough?
Most Russians would like to have two children: a boy and a girl.

Preterm children have similar temperament to children who were institutionally deprived
A child's temperament is affected by the early stages of their life.

Only-children more likely to be obese than children with siblings
Families with multiple children tend to make more healthy eating decisions than families with a single child.

Children living in countryside outperform children living in metropolitan area in motor skills
Residential density is related to children's motor skills, engagement in outdoor play and organised sports. that Finnish children living in the countryside spent more time outdoors and had better motor skills than their age peers in the metropolitan area.

Hispanic and black children more likely to miss school due to eczema than white children
In a study that highlights racial disparities in the everyday impact of eczema, new research shows Hispanic and black children are more likely than white children to miss school due to the chronic skin disease.

Children, their parents, and health professionals often underestimate children's higher weight status
More than half of parents underestimated their children's classification as overweight or obese -- children themselves and health professionals also share this misperception, according to new research being presented at this year's European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Glasgow, UK (April 28-May 1).

Read More: Children News and Children Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.