Graduate Program

School Psychology

Degree Name

Specialist in School Psychology

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Judy Oehler-Stinnett


The term "self-care child'' refers to a young child who returns from school and remains at home unsupervised for an indefinite period until the parents arrive from work, or one who is alone before school in the mornings. In this paper, the emotional functioning, social functioning, and academic performance of self-care children were compared to adult-supervised children. Also, programs designed for self-care children were examined.

When examining the current literature on the self-care child regarding loneliness, anxiety and behavior problems, susceptibility to peer pressure, sexuality, social functioning, and academic performance, no significant differences were found between self-care and adult-supervised children. Much of the current literature, however, lacks consistency in quality. Empirical studies, with proven measures, need to be conducted before any definite conclusions are made about self-care children.