Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Bridgett, David J.

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Clinical psychology; Developmental psychology; Linguistics


Early language development has implications for children's cognitive, academic, and socio-emotional growth throughout childhood. Language acquisition is influenced by various individual (e.g., infant temperament) and contextual (e.g., language input from caregivers) factors. As such, the current study investigated the relationship between the growth of infant positive affect (PA) across 6 - 12 months of age, maternal language during a wordless book task at 18 months, and language at 14 and 24 months of age. The study included a total of 162 mother-infant dyads, the majority of which were Caucasian (70.8%). Transcripts of maternal language during the wordless book task were coded for use of pragmatic language, from which two factors were extracted (i.e., Narrative Speech and Response to Child Speech). Structural equation modeling was used for primary analyses. Results indicated that higher infant PA at 6 months and steeper slopes of PA growth across 6-12 months predicted maternal Narrative Speech, but not Response to Child Speech, at 18 months. Infant gender and maternal verbal fluency predicted infant language at 14 months. Models including infant language at 24 months resulted in poor fit and were not interpretable. Implications of the results and future directions for research are discussed.


Advisors: David J. Bridgett.||Committee members: Julia Ogg; Janet Olson; Laura Pittman; Elizabeth Shelleby; Katja Wiemer.||Includes illustrations.||Includes bibliographical references.


139 pages




Northern Illinois University

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