Jay Belsky
Born (1952-07-07) July 7, 1952 (age 70)
Alma materCornell University (Ph.D., 1978)
Known forWork on effects of child care on children
Awards1988 Boyd McCandless Award, 2007 Urie Bronfenbrenner Award, 2015 Bowlby-Ainsworth Award
Scientific career
FieldsChild psychology
InstitutionsUniversity of California-Davis
ThesisFamily interaction in toddlerhood: a naturalistic observational study (1978)

Jay Belsky (born July 7, 1952)[1] is an American child psychologist and the Robert M. and Natalie Reid Dorn Professor of Human Development at the University of California, Davis. He is noted for his research in the fields of child development and family studies. He was a founding investigator of the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development in the United States, and of the National Evaluation of Sure Start in the United Kingdom.[2] He has been an ISI Highly Cited Researcher since 2002.[3]


After receiving his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1978, Belsky joined the faculty of Penn State University, where he became a distinguished professor of human development before leaving the faculty there in 1999. From 1999 to 2010, he was a professor of psychology at Birkbeck University of London, where he was also the founding director of the Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Social Issues. He became the Robert M. and Natalie Reid Dorn Professor of Human Development at the University of California, Davis in 2011. Since 2010, he has been a member of the Academy of Europe.[3]


Belsky has published multiple studies reporting that child care is associated with an increased risk of psychological and behavioral problems for children. These studies have been covered extensively by the media,[4][5] though they have been criticized by some other researchers. One such critic, Kathleen McCartney of the University of New Hampshire, said in 1987 that "None of the studies Jay [Belsky] talks about look at the quality of child-care arrangements or the family backgrounds".[6] He later left the United States to work in the United Kingdom.


  1. ^ Belsky, Jay (1976). The short term stability of mother-infant interaction within and across two settings: home and laboratory. Cornell University, Sept. pp. ii.
  2. ^ "Jay Belsky". Human Development Graduate Group. 2017-04-25. Retrieved 2017-09-28.
  3. ^ a b "Jay Belsky". WAIMH 2018. Retrieved 2017-09-28.
  4. ^ Sweeney, Jennifer Foote (2001-04-26). "Jay Belsky doesn't play well with others". Salon. Retrieved 2017-09-28.
  5. ^ Shell, Ellen Ruppel (1988-08-01). "Babes in Day Care". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2017-09-28.
  6. ^ Collins, Glenn (1987-11-25). "Day Care for Infants: Debate Turns to Long-Term Effects". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-28.