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01-09-2015 | Original Paper | Uitgave 9/2015

Journal of Child and Family Studies 9/2015

Childcare in Mapuche and Non-Mapuche Families in Chile: The Importance of Socio-economic Inequality

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 9/2015
Rodrigo A. Cárcamo, Harriet J. Vermeer, René van der Veer, Marinus H. van IJzendoorn


Two studies are reported examining ethnicity differences in child rearing between Mapuche and non-Mapuche families in Chile. The first study, the Magellan-Leiden Childcare Study (MLCS), consists of a sample of 110 mothers (n = 42 Mapuche) with children younger than 1 year old (M = 6.41 months old). In the second study, we cross-validated our results in a large and representative sample of 14,906 mothers (n = 1,050 Mapuche) and their children (M = 30.38 months old) from the Chilean Encuesta Longitudinal de la Primera Infancia (ELPI). In both studies, the actual quality of care for children provided at home was measured with the Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment. In the MLCS study, additional indicators of the childcare environment were measured, e.g. mothers’ beliefs and attitudes about parenting. The results of both the MLCS study and the ELPI study support our hypothesis that Mapuche and non-Mapuche parents do not provide substantially different child rearing environments for their children. In both studies, the differences between the two ethnic groups are explained by income, which confirms the important role that socio-economic factors play in child rearing and parenting. It is concluded that preserving cultural differences and traditions is an important goal in itself but that for childcare in Chile it seems equally important to eliminate socio-economic inequality.

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