Caregiver-child relationships in after-school care: the role of gender and the gender match

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Affective teacher–child relationships have frequently been investigated in school settings, but less attention has been devoted to these relationships in after-school care. This study explored caregiver- (N = 90) and child-informed reports (N = 90) of the affective caregiver–child relationship (N = 180 dyads) in Dutch after-school care, exploring gender differences at caregiver and child level and the relationship with a gender match between children and caregivers. The caregivers and children reported relatively high levels of closeness and relatively low level of conflict and dependency/autonomy support, irrespective of gender. Multilevel regression analyses revealed that a gender match between child and caregiver was associated with teacher-reported closeness: levels were highest in female-girl dyads and lowest in male-boy dyads. Further, boys indicated the highest levels of autonomy in male-boy dyads, whereas girls indicated the lowest levels in female-girl dyads. Masculinity of staff was associated with more child-reported autonomy support, whereas femininity predicted caregiver-reported closeness in the relationship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2665-2678
JournalEarly Child Development and Care
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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