Child & Youth Care Forum

, Volume 48, Issue 1, pp 77–91 | Cite as

Work Engagement Among Child-Care Providers: An Application of the Job Demands–Resources Model

  • Ahyoung LeeEmail author
  • HaeJung Kim
  • Monica Faulkner
  • Paula Gerstenblatt
  • Dnika J. Travis
Original Paper



As the demand for child care continues in the United States, the well-being of the child care workforce is an important consideration as well. Child care providers have job-related stresses, which affect their physical and mental health, ultimately can lead to a variety of concerns including, high turnover and overall quality of services.


The purpose of the study is to examine the level of work engagement among child care workers. Specific attentions were paid to examine factors associated with work engagement using job demands–resources model.


A cross-sectional design was used to analyze a total of 393 child care workers to examine the factors associated with their work engagement.


Results of hierarchical linear regression analysis suggested that job resources, psychological rewards, and job control are significantly associated with child care workers’ work engagement. The study findings also confirm the buffering effect of job resources (perceived positive feelings about their job) on the relationship between job demands and work engagement. When there was low level of psychological rewards, there was a high negative relationship between job demands and work engagement; while when there was high level of psychological rewards, the job demands had no relationship with work engagement.


Overall, the findings show a link between having a high level of positive feelings and child care providers’ engagement at work. Developing strategies to reinforce employees’ positive feelings toward work may help to develop and maintain an engaged workforce. Studies testing such strategies are needed.


Work engagement Job demands–resources model Child care providers Psychological rewards 



This research was supported by a grant from the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health (JRG-085, PI: Dnika Travis, Ph.D). Points of view in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the Hogg Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social WorkKutztown University of PennsylvaniaKutztownUSA
  2. 2.Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, School of Social WorkWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA
  3. 3.Steve Hicks School of Social WorkUniversity of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
  4. 4.School of Social WorkUniversity of Southern MainePortlandUSA
  5. 5.Catalyst Research Center for Corporate PracticeNew YorkUSA

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