Early Maternal Language Use During Book Sharing in Families From Low-Income Environments Purpose The authors examined the language used by mothers from low-income and rural environments with their infants at ages 6 and 15 months to identify predictors of maternal language use at the 15-month time point. Method Maternal language use by 82 mothers with their children was documented during ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 2013
Early Maternal Language Use During Book Sharing in Families From Low-Income Environments
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Linzy M. Abraham
    Waterloo Region District School Board, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
  • Elizabeth Crais
    The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Lynne Vernon-Feagans
    The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Correspondence to Linzy M. Abraham: linzyabraham@gmail.com
  • Editor: Marilyn Nippold
    Editor: Marilyn Nippold×
  • Associate Editor: Juliann Woods
    Associate Editor: Juliann Woods×
Article Information
Development / Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 2013
Early Maternal Language Use During Book Sharing in Families From Low-Income Environments
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, February 2013, Vol. 22, 71-83. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2012/11-0153)
History: Received February 12, 2012 , Accepted July 30, 2012
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, February 2013, Vol. 22, 71-83. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2012/11-0153)
History: Received February 12, 2012; Accepted July 30, 2012
Web of Science® Times Cited: 6

Purpose The authors examined the language used by mothers from low-income and rural environments with their infants at ages 6 and 15 months to identify predictors of maternal language use at the 15-month time point.

Method Maternal language use by 82 mothers with their children was documented during book-sharing interactions within the home in a prospective longitudinal study. The authors analyzed transcripts for maternal language strategies and maternal language productivity.

Results Analyses indicated variability across mothers in their language use and revealed some stability within mothers, as maternal language use at the 6-month time point significantly predicted later maternal language. Mothers who used more language strategies at the 6-month time point were likely to use more of these language strategies at the 15-month time point, even after accounting for maternal education, family income, maternal language productivity, and children’s communicative attempts.

Conclusions Mothers' language use with their children was highly predictive of later maternal language use, as early as age 6 months. Children’s communication also influenced concurrent maternal language productivity. Thus, programs to enhance maternal language use would need to begin in infancy, promoting varied and increased maternal language use and also encouraging children’s communication.

Acknowledgments
Support for this research was provided by National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Grant P01-HD-39667, with co-funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The Family Life Project Phase 1 Key Investigators were Lynne Vernon-Feagans and Martha Cox, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC Chapel Hill); Clancy Blair, New York University; Peg Burchinal, UNC Chapel Hill; Keith Crnic, Arizona State University, Tempe; Ann Crouter, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park (PSU, University Park); Patricia Garrett-Peters, UNC Chapel Hill; Mark Greenberg and Stephanie Lanza, PSU University Park; Roger Mills-Koonce, UNC Chapel Hill; Emily Werner, The University of Colorado, Denver; and Michael Willoughby, UNC Chapel Hill.
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