Maternal Depressive Symptomatology, Social Support, and Language Development of Bilingual Preschoolers From Low-Income Households Purpose This study examined the impact of maternal depressive symptomatology and social support on the English and Spanish language growth of young bilingual children from low-income backgrounds. It was hypothesized that maternal depression would slow children's development in both languages but that social support would buffer the negative effect. ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 2015
Maternal Depressive Symptomatology, Social Support, and Language Development of Bilingual Preschoolers From Low-Income Households
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lauren M. Cycyk
    Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
  • Dana Bitetti
    Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
  • Carol Scheffner Hammer
    Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Lauren M. Cycyk: tud53194@temple.edu
  • Editor: Krista Wilkinson
    Editor: Krista Wilkinson×
  • Associate Editor: RaMonda Horton
    Associate Editor: RaMonda Horton×
Article Information
Development / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 2015
Maternal Depressive Symptomatology, Social Support, and Language Development of Bilingual Preschoolers From Low-Income Households
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2015, Vol. 24, 411-425. doi:10.1044/2015_AJSLP-14-0038
History: Received March 15, 2014 , Revised August 29, 2014 , Accepted April 6, 2015
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2015, Vol. 24, 411-425. doi:10.1044/2015_AJSLP-14-0038
History: Received March 15, 2014; Revised August 29, 2014; Accepted April 6, 2015

Purpose This study examined the impact of maternal depressive symptomatology and social support on the English and Spanish language growth of young bilingual children from low-income backgrounds. It was hypothesized that maternal depression would slow children's development in both languages but that social support would buffer the negative effect.

Method Longitudinal data were collected from 83 mothers of Puerto Rican descent and their children who were attending Head Start preschool for 2 years. The effects of maternal depressive symptomatology and social support from family and friends on receptive vocabulary and oral comprehension development in both languages were examined.

Results Growth curve modeling revealed that maternal depressive symptomatology negatively affected Spanish receptive vocabulary development only. Maternal depression did not affect children's English receptive vocabulary or their oral comprehension in either language. Social support was not related to maternal depressive symptomatology or child language.

Conclusions These findings suggest that maternal depression is 1 risk factor that contributes to less robust primary language development of bilingual children from low-income households. Speech-language pathologists must (a) increase their awareness of maternal depression in order to provide families with appropriate mental health referrals and (b) consider their roles as supportive adults for children whose mothers may be depressed.

Acknowledgments
This research article was supported in part by grants from National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Grants R01-HD-39496-05 and U01-HD-060296 awarded to Carol Scheffner Hammer. We thank the families and Head Start centers for agreeing to participate in this study, as well as the students and staff from The Pennsylvania State University who originally collected and coded the data. We are also grateful for the contributions of Adele Miccio to this research. We further acknowledge Jennifer Cromley and Eugene Komaroff of Temple University for their invaluable guidance with the statistical analysis of the data.
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