Infant Language Production and Parenting Skills: A Randomized Controlled Trial

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The current study examined the indirect effect of the use of behavioral parenting skills following the Infant Behavior Program, a brief, home-based adaptation of the child-directed interaction phase of parent–child interaction therapy, on infant language production. Participants were 60 infants (55% male, mean age 13.47 ± 1.31 months)and their caregivers, who were recruited at a large urban pediatric primary care clinic and were included if their scores exceeded the 75th percentile on a brief screener of early behavior problems. Families were randomly assigned to receive the infant behavior program or standard pediatric primary care. Results demonstrated a significant indirect effect of caregivers’ use of positive parenting skills (i.e., praise, reflections, and behavior descriptions)on the relation between group and infant total utterances at the 6-month follow-up, such that infants whose caregivers increased their use of positive parenting skills following the intervention showed greater increases in language production. These findings extend previous research examining parenting skills as a mechanism of change in infant language production, and highlight the potential for an early parenting intervention to target behavior and language simultaneously during a critical period in language development.





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