Maternal Speech Quality and Child Language in the Context of Maltreatment

Master's Thesis


Maltreated children tend to have deficits in language skill throughout childhood, regardless of socioeconomic status. It is thought that children’s exposure to language during early childhood is predictive of later language development. The current study investigated the quantity and quality of maltreating mothers’ speech during interactions with their three- to six-year-old children and assessed whether differences in maternal speech quality mediate the relation between maltreatment and children’s language skill. 83 mother-child dyads played together with experimenter-provided toys and their language skill was assessed at baseline and one year later. 55 of these dyads had a documented history of child maltreatment with the mother being named as a perpetrator. Results indicated that there was not a significant difference between maltreating and nonmaltreating mothers’ speech quantity or quality. Further, maternal speech quality did not significantly mediate the association between maltreatment and child language skill.


Attribute NameValues
Author Kaitlin Fondren
Contributor Jill Laney, Committee Member
Contributor Kristin Valentino, Research Director
Contributor E. Mark Cummings, Committee Member
Degree Level Master's Thesis
Degree Discipline Psychology
Degree Name MA
Banner Code

Defense Date
  • 2018-07-12

Submission Date 2018-11-15
Record Visibility and Access Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units
Catalog Record


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