Publications by authors named "Rena A Hallam"

2 Publications

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The Use of Infant Confinement Equipment in Community-Based Child Care Centers: An Analysis of Centers Participating in a Statewide Quality Rating and Improvement System.

Matern Child Health J 2018 05;22(5):694-701

Human Development and Family Studies, University of Delaware, Newark, DE, 19716, USA.

Objectives Although infants increasingly spend time in community-based child care centers, little attention has been paid to their physical activity experiences while in group care. In particular, the use of devices to restrict infant mobility, such as bouncy seats, high chairs, cribs, and stationary activity centers, has received little attention in the physical activity literature. The current study examines the presence and use of these confinement devices in infant classrooms. Methods A secondary analysis of observational data in child care centers participating in Delaware's Quality Rating and Improvement System was conducted. Quality assessment observations were coded for the use of confinement devices and the actual amount of time the confinement device was employed per child. The sample consisted of 38 infant classrooms serving a total of 162 infants in the statewide system. Results Findings suggest a high level of utilization of confinement devices in infant child care classrooms with each classroom averaging three pieces of equipment used during the observations and 22% of observed children being confined 30 min or longer during the observation period. Conclusions for Practice The reliance on confinement devices in group child care is a potential concern in the quest to prevent childhood obesity by ensuring adequate physical activity and mobility for infants in group care settings. More research is needed to understand the implications of the use of confinement devices on physical activity in group care settings.
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May 2018


Infant Ment Health J 2017 09 26;38(5):602-616. Epub 2017 Aug 26.

University of Delaware.

The federal Early Head Start program provides a relevant context to examine families' experiences with stress since participants qualify on the basis of poverty and risk. Building on previous research that has shown variations in demographic and economic risks even among qualifying families, we examined possible variations in families' perceptions of stress. Family, parent, and child data were collected to measure stressors and risk across a variety of domains in families' everyday lives, primarily from self-report measures, but also including assay results from child cortisol samples. A cluster analysis was employed to examine potential differences among groups of Early Head Start families. Results showed that there were three distinct subgroups of families, with some families perceiving that they experienced very high levels of stress while others perceived much lower levels of stress despite also experiencing poverty and heightened risk. These findings have important implications in that they provide an initial step toward distinguishing differences in low-income families' experiences with stress, thereby informing interventions focused on promoting responsive caregiving as a possible mechanism to buffer the effects of family and social stressors on young children.
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September 2017