Date of Award

5-17-2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Shannon Self-Brown

Second Advisor

Jenelle Shanley

Abstract

Language skills developed in early childhood are important for literacy and communication in childhood as well as future adult literacy skills and health. Certain demographic characteristics and parent-child interaction skills have been identified through previous research as being influential in child language development. Parental stress has also been associated with child language outcomes. This study aims to explore whether parents’ interactive relational skills, measured by an observational method, are significantly related to children’s verbal outcome, while controlling for demographic variables and parental stress. Participants included mothers of children aged 4-6 who completed measures of parental interaction quality, parental stress, and demographic characteristics. Their children competed a language skill measure. Results indicated that even when controlling for demographic variables and parental stress, the relationship between parent-child interaction quality and child language outcomes remained significant. These findings suggest that increasing positive parent-child interaction skills may be beneficial for increasing children’s language skills.

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