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Effect of Crianza Positiva e-messaging program on adult–child language interactions

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 September 2021

Ana Balsa*
Department of Economics, Universidad de Montevideo, Montevideo, Uruguay
Florencia López Boo
Department of Social Protection, Inter-American Development Bank, Washington, DC, USA
Juanita Bloomfield
Department of Economics, Universidad de Montevideo, Montevideo, Uruguay
Alejandrina Cristia
Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et Psycholinguistique, Département d’études cognitives, ENS, EHESS, CNRS, PSL University, Paris, France
Alejandro Cid
Department of Economics, Universidad de Montevideo, Montevideo, Uruguay
María de la Paz Ferro
Department of Social Protection, Inter-American Development Bank, Washington, DC, USA
Rosario Valdés
Fundación Fe y Alegría, Montevideo, Uruguay
María del Luján González
Department of Psychology, Universidad Católica del Uruguay, Montevideo, Uruguay
*Correspondence to: E-mail:


We assess the effects of the Crianza Positiva text and audio e-messaging program on caregiver–child language interaction patterns. The program is a six-month-long intervention for families with children aged 0–2 aimed at strengthening parental competences. Its design exploits behavioral tools such as reminders, suggestions of action, and messages of encouragement to reinforce and sustain positive parenting practices. Families in 24 early childhood centers in Uruguay that completed an eight-week workshop were randomized into receiving or not receiving mobile messages. After the program, we videotaped 10-minute sessions of free play between the caregiver and the child, and decoded language patterns using automated techniques. The intervention was successful at improving the quality of parental vocalizations, as measured by the parent's pitch range. We also found suggestive evidence of increases in the duration of adult vocalizations. The results are consistent with more frequent parental self-reported involvement in reading, telling stories, and describing things to the child. Regarding the child, we find a nonrobust decrease in the duration of vocalizations, which we attribute to a crowding-out effect by the caregiver in the context of a fixed 10-minute suggested activity and a more proactive parental role.

Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press

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