Reciprocal influences between maternal language and children's language and cognitive development in low-income families

Lulu Song, Elizabeth T. Spier, Catherine S. Tamis-Lemonda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We examined reciprocal associations between early maternal language use and children's language and cognitive development in seventy ethnically diverse, low-income families. Mother-child dyads were videotaped when children were aged 2;0 and 3;0. Video transcripts were analyzed for quantity and lexical diversity of maternal and child language. Child cognitive development was assessed at both ages and child receptive vocabulary was assessed at age 3;0. Maternal language related to children's lexical diversity at each age, and maternal language at age 2;0, was associated with children's receptive vocabulary and cognitive development at age 3;0. Furthermore, children's cognitive development at age 2;0 was associated with maternal language at age 3;0 controlling for maternal language at age 2;0, suggesting bi-directionality in mother-child associations. The quantity and diversity of the language children hear at home has developmental implications for children from low-income households. In addition, children's early cognitive skills further feed into their subsequent language experiences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-326
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of child language
Volume41
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2014

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Psychology(all)

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