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Maternal directive and facilitative interaction styles: Associations with language and cognitive development of low risk and high risk toddlers



The purpose of this study was to examine the relation of maternal interaction styles to the development of a sample of 56 toddlers (19 low risk, 37 high risk) seen at 12 and 24 months of age. At 12 months, videotapes of mother–child interaction were coded for directiveness, sensitivity, and elaborativeness. At 12 and 24 months, cognitive and language measures were collected. A directive maternal style was negatively correlated with sensitivity and elaborativeness, whereas sensitive and elaborative ratings were positively correlated, suggesting a facilitative style. Regression models significantly predicted receptive language and cognitive development at 24 months but not expressive language. Maternal directiveness at 12 months was negatively related to later receptive language skills, whereas elaborativeness at 12 months was positively predictive of later cognitive development. Child status variables and maternal interactional styles contributed about equally to the prediction of later cognitive and language outcomes.


Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Ann D. Murray, School of Family Studies and Human Services, Kansas State University, Justin Hall, Manhattan, KS 66506.
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Development and Psychopathology
  • ISSN: 0954-5794
  • EISSN: 1469-2198
  • URL: /core/journals/development-and-psychopathology
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