Methods: Sixty childcare professionals working in settings that serve infants and toddlers provided data on their history of exposure to ACEs, current resilience factors (i.e., relationships, internal beliefs, initiative, and self-control), job satisfaction, and perceived workplace stress. Standardized measures used to assess these constructs, were respectively as follows: the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), the Devereux Adult Resilience Survey (DARS), the Early Childhood Job Satisfaction Survey (ECJS), and the Childcare Worker Job Stress inventory (WSI). Comprehensive live observations of the facilitative quality of social and emotional interactions were conducted using a standardized measure (the Climate of Healthy Interactions for Learning & Development tool, or CHILD), with assessors trained to reliability.
Results: Multilevel models revealed that higher levels of childcare provider ACEs were associated with lower scores on the CHILD tool, indicative of lower levels of teacher facilitation of young child socioemotional development. After accounting for classroom-level covariates (class size and age group) there was a significant relationship between the number of ACEs reported by childcare providers and total score on the CHILD (B = -5.69, SE = 2.35, p < .05). When scores from three measures of resilience (DARS), job satisfaction (ECJS), and provider stress (WSI) were added to the model, the association between history of ACEs and positive healthy interactions in the classroom remained significant (B = -6.23, SE = 2.68, p < .05).
Conclusion: Findings from this study support the hypothesis that childcare professionals’ exposure to ACEs is significantly related to lower quality social and emotional interactions with children in the classroom. We did not find support for our hypotheses that teacher resilience and job-related stresses would moderate this relationship. The significant, negative relationship between reported ACEs and CHILD scores held regardless of reported resilience factors or job related stressors. Discussion focuses on the need to identify ACEs among childcare professionals and offer trauma-informed training and treatment.