Effects of caregiving influences on children's language development
Spector, Marlene Perelman
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The central aim of the study was to investigate the effects of caregiving influences on children's language development. The subjects were 49 Black and Hispanic low socioeconomic children, including 34 high risk children and 15 healthy fullterm comparisons, and their parents. The children were administered tests to assess their developmental competence at ages 1 and 2. Primary caregivers were also administered questionnaires and procedures when their children were 2-years old in order to assess the quality of the home environment they provide, their interactive style, and their knowledge of infant development.;Comparisons of developmental outcomes of high risk and fullterm comparison children indicated that while the high risk children showed delays in cognitive and receptive language skills at year 1, their skills were essentially equivalent to those of the fullterm comparison children by year 2. Comparisons also indicated that by year 2 both the fullterm comparison and high risk children who were not language-delayed at year 1 had more developed motor skills and higher MLUs than the high risk children who were language-delayed at year 1. Sex differences in language development were found in all risk groups. Additionally, there were no significant differences between high risk and fullterm comparison groups on 2-year measures of caregiving practices and child behaviors.;Correlational analyses indicated a modest low positive relationship between home environment and developmental outcomes. A weaker relationship was found, however, between both teaching style and knowledge of infant development and developmental outcomes. Correlational analyses also suggested that an accurate understanding of infant development was strongly associated with stimulating caregiving environments but not with teaching style.;Analysis of variance procedures indicated that children who were language-delayed at year 1 but not at year 2 had caregivers who were significantly more sensitive to their children's behavioral cues. Results also suggested no association of caregiving practices with 2-year language competence. Additionally, results suggested no association of contingent responsivity with 2-year language development as well as with changes in language functioning from year 1 to year 2.;Limitations of the study were discussed as possible explanations for the unexpected nonsignificant findings.
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