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Processes in language acquisition: the roles of gender, attention, and maternal encouragement of attention over time



Processes in language acquisition: the roles of gender, attention, and maternal encouragement of attention over time



Journal of Child Language 29(3): 519-543



This longitudinal study including 87 infant-mother dyads examined the relation between infant temperamental attention, maternal encouragement of attention, language, and the effects of gender. At ages 0;4, 0;8, and 1;0, global attention was assessed from Rothbart's (1981) IBQ; manipulative exploration was assessed with the Bayley (1969) IBR; and maternal verbal, visual and physical encouragement of attention were coded from 5 minutes of mother-infant free-play. At 1;0, language was measured using language items from the Bayley Mental Scale and parent-report items from Hendrick, Prather & Tobin's (1984) SICD-Revised. Multiple regressions indicated that gender, infants' manipulative exploration and maternal physical encouragement of attention at 0;4, and maternal verbal encouragement of attention at 1;0, were all positively related to language at 1;0. Interactions indicated that girls high in 0;8 or 1;0 manipulative exploration had more advanced language skills than girls low in manipulative exploration or than boys, regardless of their attention level. Additionally, maternal verbal encouragement of attention appears to be particularly salient in the development of language for boys.

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Accession: 047084381

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 12109362

DOI: 10.1017/S0305000902005196


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