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The impact of positive parenting behaviors and maternal depression on the features of young children's home language environments

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 November 2019

Oklahoma State University, USA
Oklahoma State University, USA
Oklahoma State University, USA
Oklahoma State University, USA
*Corresponding author: Oklahoma State University – HDFS, 700 North Greenwood Main Hall, Tulsa Oklahoma74070, United States. E-mail:


This study investigated the associations between maternal depression when infants were 3 to 11 months old (M = 6 months), and positive parenting behaviors when children were between 12 and 22 months (M = 17 months) and the home language environment assessed when children were 18 to 28 months old (M = 23.5 months) in a sample of 29 low-income mother–child dyads. After controlling for maternal education, only teaching behaviors remained a moderate and significant predictor of adult word counts. Observed teaching behaviors significantly predicted conversational turns and marginally predicted child vocalizations; effects sizes were small. Encouraging behaviors were a small and significant predictor of conversational turns and a marginally significant predictor of adult word counts. Maternal depression was a moderate and significant predictor of children's vocal productivity scores and a small, marginal predictor of conversational turns. These findings have important implications for parenting and children's language outcomes.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2019

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