Vocabulary Development in Young Children: The Influence of Maternal Factors
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of Human Development and Family Science Honors Theses; 2012
Vocabulary is an essential area of development because the acquisition of vocabulary is key in the development of language, cognition, and academic achievement. While there is extensive research on the various influential factors of vocabulary development (e.g., instructional curriculum, family SES), the direct influence of maternal depression on a child’s vocabulary development is not as well researched. This study examined whether maternal depressive symptoms were associated with child vocabulary acquisition during early childhood. Participants included 32 mother-child dyads, with varying levels of depressive symptoms. The mothers were at least 21 years of age and children were between 3 and 3.5 years of age. The vocabulary of the child and the mother were assessed using a standardized test (PPVT-IV). Maternal depressive symptoms were measured using the CES-D. Family income, used as an indicator of SES, maternal vocabulary, and child gender were included as control variables. A hierarchal regression analysis was conducted with the child’s vocabulary as the dependent variable. The independent variables were entered into the analysis in three steps: 1) child sex, 2) family income, maternal education, maternal vocabulary and 2) maternal depressive symptoms. Findings of this study showed no correlation between maternal depressive symptoms and child vocabulary. It did however show strong correlation between family income and child vocabulary. Implications and future research are discussed.