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Maternal control strategies, maternal language usage and children's language usage at two years*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 October 2008

NICOLE TAYLOR
Affiliation:
University of Wisconsin – Madison
WILBERTA DONOVAN
Affiliation:
University of Wisconsin – Madison
SALLY MILES
Affiliation:
University of Wisconsin – Madison
LEWIS LEAVITT
Affiliation:
University of Wisconsin – Madison
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

The present study determined whether parenting style, defined by control strategies varying in power-assertion mediated the established relation between maternal language usage (grammar and semantics) and child language (grammar, semantics and pragmatics) during toddlerhood (n=60). Based upon their use of control strategies mothers were categorized into continuum-of-control groups (i.e. high guidance (HG), high control (HC) or high negative control (HNC)). Mothers in the high negative control group, who characteristically used high levels of prohibitions and commands, had children who performed relatively poorly overall on the language measures (i.e. MLU, number of bound morphemes, number of different words and use of language functions). In contrast, children of mothers in the HG and HC groups exhibited more advanced language usage overall. The relation between maternal and child language usage was mediated by parenting style for child pragmatics and partially for child grammar.

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Articles
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Cambridge University Press

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Footnotes

[*]

This research was supported by grants HD38378 and P30 HD03352 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Portions of these data were presented at the Symposium on Research in Child language Disorders, Madison, WI, June, 2006. We are indebted to SALT Lab for transcription of the language samples and Robin Chapman for a critical reading of the manuscript. We wish to thank Jennifer Jindrich, Emily Harms, Laura Stuntebeck and Jennifer Broder for their assistance in the data collection and coding. Lastly we wish to thank the mothers who participated in the study for their time and interest.

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