Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Scores on the MacArthur Communicative Development Inventory of children from lowand middle-income families

  • Rose I. Arriaga (a1), Larry Fenson (a2), Terry Cronan (a2) and Stephen J. Pethick (a2)

Abstract

This study compared the language skills in a group of very low-income toddlers with those of a middle-income sample matched on age and sex. The assessment instrument was the MacArthur Communicative Development Inventory (CDI) for toddlers, a parent report form. The scores for the low-income group were strikingly lower on the three key indices evaluated: size of expressive vocabulary, age of appearance of word combinations, and complexity of utterances. The entire lowincome distribution was shifted about 30% toward the lower end of the middle-income distribution for both productive vocabulary and grammatical development. The magnitude of these income/ social class effects was larger than reported in most prior reports for children in this age range. This finding underscores the cautionary note issued by the CDI developers, which states that the published CDI norms, based on a middle-class sample, may not be directly applicable to low-income samples.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Developmental Psychology Lab, MC-4910, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92182. Email: fenson@crl.ucsd.edu

References

Hide All
Allen, R., Wasserman, O., & Seidman, S. (1990). Children with congenital anomalies: The preschoolperiod. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 15, 327345.
Arriaga, R. I., Hicks, M. J., Cronan, T. A., & Fenson, L. (1992, March). Language comprehensionassessment: Mothers’ predictions and children's performance. Poster presented at the Stu-dent Research Conference,San Diego State University,San Diego.
Barnes, S., Gutfreund, M., Satterly, D., & Wells, G. (1983). Characteristics of adult speech whichpredict children's language development. Journal of Child Language, 10, 6584.
Bertenthal, B. I. (1991). Special section: Canalization of behavioral development. DevelopmentalPsychology, 27, 339.
Bradley, R. H., Caldwell, B. M., & Lock, S. L. (1988). Home environment and school performance: A ten-year follow-up and examination of three models of environmental action. Child Devel-opment, 59, 852867.
Clarke-Stewart, K. A. (1973). Interactions between mothers and their young children: Characteristicsand consequences. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 38 (6–7, Serial No. 153).
Cronan, T. A., Walen, H. R., & Cruz, S. G. (1994). The effects of community based literacy trainingon Head Start parents. Journal of Community Psychology, 22, 248258.
Cross, T. G. (1977). Mothers' speech adjustments: The contribution of selected child listener variables. In Snow, C. E. & Ferguson, C. A., Talking to children: Language input and acquisition. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Diamond, L., & le-Furgy, W. G. (1988). Screening for developmental handicaps: Outcomes froman early childhood screening program. Physical and Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics, 8, 4359.
Fenson, L., Dale, P. S., Reznick, J. S., Bates, E., Thai, D., & Pethick, S. (1994). Variability in earlycommunicative development. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 59 (5, Serial No. 242).
Fenson, L.Dale, P. S., Reznick, J. S., Thai, D., Bates, E., Hartung, J. P., Pethick, S., & Reilly, J. S. (1993). The MacArthur Communicative Development Inventories: User's guide andtechnical manual. San Diego: Singular Publishing Group.
Fenson, L., Sweet, M., & Jimerson, T. (1996, April). Assessment of vocabulary comprehension:Parent judgment and child performance. Poster presented at the International Conference onInfant Studies,Providence,RI.
Garcia Coll, C. T. (1990). Developmental outcome of minority infants: A process-oriented look atour beginnings. Child Development, 61, 270289.
Gottfried, A. W. (1984). Home environment and early cognitive development: Longitudinal re-search. Orlando, FL: Academic.
Greenwood, C. R., Carta, J. J., Hart, B., Kamps, D., Terry, B., Arreaga-Mayer, C., Atwater, J., Walker, D., Risley, T., & Delquadri, J. C. (1992). Out of the laboratory and into the community. American Psychologist, 47, 14641474.
Greenwood, C. R., Terry, B., Utley, C. A., & Montagna, D. (1993). Achievement, placement, andservices: Middle school benefits of classwide peer tutoring used at the elementary school. School Psychology Review, 22, 497516.
Gullo, D. F. (1988). A comparative study of adolescent and older mothers’ knowledge of infantabilities. Child Study Journal, 18. 223231.
Hart, B., & Risley, T. R. (1992). American parenting of language-learning children: Persisting differences in family-child interactions observed in natural home environments. DevelopmentalPsychology. 28, 10961105.
Hess, R. D., & Shipman, V. (1965). Early experience and the socialization of cognitive modes inchildren. Child Development. 36, 869886.
Hollingshead, A. (1965). Two-Factor Index of Social Status. New Haven, CT: Yale UniversitySociology Department.
Klineberg, O. (1963). Negro-white differences in intelligence test performance: A new look at anold problem. American Psychologist. 18, 198203.
Largo, R. H., Graf, S., Kubdu, S., Hunziker, U., & Molinari, L. (1990). Predicting developmentaloutcome at school age from infant tests of normal, at risk, and retarded infants. Develop-mental Medicine and Child Neurology, 32, 3045.
Laosa, L. M. (1984). Ethnic, socioeconomic, and home language influences upon early performanceon measures of abilities. Journal of Educational Psychology, 75, 11781198.
Lawrence, V. W., & Shipley, E. F. (1996). Parental speech to middle- and working-class childrenfrom two racial groups in three settings. Applied Psycholinguistics, 17, 233255.
Lesser, G., Fifer, G., & Clark, D. (1965). Mental abilities of children from different social classesand cultural groups. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 30 (4, Serial No. 102).
McCall, R. B. (1981). Nature-nuture and the two realms of development: A proposed integrationwhich respect to mental development. Child Development, 52, 112.
McCarthy, D. A. (1978). Manual for the McCarthy Scales of Children's Abilities. San Antonio, TX: Psychological Corporation.
Mishra, R. K., & Mishra, B. (1992). Acquisitional hierarchy of wh-words: Impact of family types. Psycho-Lingua, 22, 716.
Morisset, C. E., Barnard, K. E., Greenberg, M. T., Booth, C. L., & Spieker, S. J. (1990). Environ-mental influences on early language development: The context of social risk. Developmentand Psychopathotogy, 2, 127149.
Rescoria, L. (1989). The language development survey: A screening trial for delayed language intoddlers. Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorder, 54, 587599.
Reznick, S. (1990). Visual preference as a test of infant word comprehension. Applied Psycholin-guistics, 11, 145166.
Rutter, M. (1985). Family and school influences on cognitive development. Journal of Child Psy-chology and Psychiatry, 26, 683704.
Siegel, L. S. (1982). Reproductive, perinatal, and environmental factors as predictors of the cognitive and language development of preterm and full-term infants. Child Development, 53, 969973.
Smith, L., Ulvund, S. E., & Lindemann, R. (1994). Very low birth weight infants (<1501 g) atdouble risk. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 15, 713.
Snow, C. E., Arlman-Rupp, A., Hassing, Y., Jobse, J., Joosten, J., & Vorster, J. (1976). Mothers'speech in three social classes. Journal of Psycholinguistics Research, 5, 120.
Snow, J. H., Blondis, T., & Brady, L. (1988). Motor and sensory abilities with normal and academi-cally at-risk children. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 3, 227238.
St. Pierre, R., & Swartz, J. P. (1995). The Even Start Family Literacy Program. In Smith, S. & Sigel, I. E. (Eds.), Advances in applied developmental psychology: Volume 9. Two generationprograms for families in poverty: A new intervention strategy (pp. 3766). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
St. Pierre, R., Swartz, J., Gamse, B., Murray, S., Deck, D., & Nickel, P. (1995). National evaluationof the Even Start Family Literacy Program (03 23, 1995). Washington, DC: U.S. De-partment of Education.
Vohr, B. R., GarciaColl, C., & Oh, W. (1989). Language and neurodevelopment outcome of low-birth weight infants at three years. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 32, 582590.
Walker, D., Greenwood, C, Hart, B., & Carta, J. (1994). Prediction of school outcomes based onearly language production and socioeconomic factors. Child Development, 65, 606621.
Warren-Leubecker, A., & Carter, B. W. (1988). Reading and growth in metalinguistic awareness:Relations to socioeconomic status and reading readiness skills. Child Development, 59, 728742.
Wells, G. (1981). Language through interaction: The study of language development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Wells, G. (1985). Language development in the preschool years. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed