Predictors of Variation in Maternal Talk to Children: A Longitudinal Study of Low-Income Families
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CitationRowe, Meredith L., Barbara Alexander Pan, and Catherine Ayoub. 2005. “Predictors of Variation in Maternal Talk to Children: A Longitudinal Study of Low-Income Families.” Parenting 5 (3): 259–283.
AbstractObjective. The goals of this study were (1) to examine the extent of variation in
amount and lexical diversity of maternal talk to young children within a sample
of low-income families, (2) to determine the patterns of change over time in maternal
talk during the early childhood years, and (3) to consider specific predictors
of variation in maternal communicative input. Design. Low-income
mother – child dyads (n = 108) were videotaped at child ages 14, 24, and 36
months during semistructured play in the home. Videotapes were transcribed
and analyzed using the conventions of the Child Language Data Exchange System
to determine amount (word tokens) and lexical diversity (word types) of
maternal talk to children. Background information collected from mothers at
study entry served as predictors of variation in communicative input. Individual
growth modeling methods were used to analyze data. Results. Mothers varied
greatly in the number of tokens and types produced during interaction.
Mothers were found to increase in their total amount of talk and diversity of vocabulary
as children aged. In addition to child age, maternal education, language
and literacy skills, depression, and age helped explain variation in level
of maternal talk, but none of the predictors explained variation in growth. Different
combinations of predictors explained variation in tokens versus types.
Conclusions. Findings highlight the importance of studying specific predictors
of parental talk to children, as even in low-income samples large variation in
communicative input is evident.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:13041212
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