Interpreting Correlational Research essay

In the article “Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Early Parental Employment on Children of the National Longtitudinal Survey of the Youth” (SLEEPEC), several variables were presented to have effect on child development and child compliance. The primary control variable in the six studies summarized and presented by the article was early parental employment, quantified by the number hours the parent(s) (as primary source of care) would spend working (Harvey, E. , 1999). The six studies that SLEEPEC discussed used similar other variables but different data sets (Harvey, E. , 1999).

SLEEPEC also showed that though the six studies sought to establish a correlation between early parental care and child compliance, the studies all showed different and often conflicting results (Harvey, E. , 1999). Variables that may intervene in the correlations shown by SLEEPEC are; 1) other sources of care for the child (e. g. grandparents, nannies, other relatives of the child), 2) the crime rate in the child’s immediate environment, 3) the residence of the parents (non-resident fathers) and 4) influence of media on very young children.

The first variable, the presence of other sources of care for the child, would describe the circumstances of child care when the parents are working. These other sources of care may include grandparents, nannies, relatives or institutional day care centers. This variable would measure the characteristics of the caregivers for children who are left in others’ care when the parents are employed.

In a study done on the data set presented by the National Longtitudinal Survey of Canadian Youth (NLSCY), non-parental care had an impact on child development (Connor, S.& Brink, S. , 1999) and may effect the correlation presented in the article. This variable will be measured through the age of the caregiver, the degree of relationship with the child and the educational attainment of the caregiver, specifically the qualifications for child care which may include formal training and years of previous experience. The second variable that may confound the findings of the study is the situation of the parents.

Single mothers have been taken into account by some of the other studies mentioned in the article, but the circumstances of the father are not wholly addressed. This variable addresses the residence of the father, who may not be living with the mother and would have different circumstances when caring for the child. One possible reason for single parental care circumstances is the absence of a father within the home because of divorced or separated parents.

The number of hours that the father spends with the child as opposed to the mother will be considered in this variable. Also, the frequency of visits that the child enjoys will be taken into consideration. Another consideration within this variable would be the degree of accessibility of the father for the child. The differences between a father who lives within the same state or town and a father who lives across the country or even in another continent will be shown as well. Another variable is the environmental situation of the child.

The focus of this article will be the safety and security that a child experiences within his or her community. Quantifying safety and security of the child’s environment in terms of the community’s crime rate, one may identify an intervening variable. This variable would be measured as the incidence of crime in the immediate community of the child. The crime rate may also be selectively examined. Crimes involving children ages 0-5 such as kidnapping, abuse, neglect and the like may be the only crimes taken into consideration as data in this variable.

The last variable that may confound the study is the influence of mass media on the child. This variable will be measured as the number of hours the child watches television in a supervised and unsupervised manner.


Connor, S. & Brink, S. (1999). Impacts of Non-Parental Care on Child Development. Quebec: Applied Research Branch Human Development Resources Canada. Harvey, E. (1999). Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Early Parental Employment on Children of the National Longtitudinal Survey of the Youth. Developmental Psychology, 445-449.