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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Educational and School Psychology

First Advisor

Linda Webster

First Committee Member

Rachelle Hackett

Second Committee Member

Justin Low

Third Committee Member

Lynn Beck


Research has shown that the caregiving environment and the type of parent-child interactions that occur during development can have significant impact on future child outcomes for positive as well as negative outcomes (Ruffman, Slade, Devitt, & Crowe, 2006; Fonagy, Gergely, & Target, 2007). Language and emotional expressiveness are common themes that past research suggest are aspects of healthy and open parent-child interactions, and which may have associations with positive child outcomes (Carlson, Mandell, & Williams, 2004). Participants included 1359 children from the longitudinal NICHD Study of Early Child Care—variables were measured at 54 months, 3 rd , 4 th , and 6 th grades and at age 15. The early caregiving environment was found to predict 4 th grade language skills, but this relationship was not mediated by family emotional expressiveness in 3 rd grade. Family emotional expressiveness was found to predict 6 th grade social skills, but this was not mediated by 4 th grade language skills. Evidence of an indirect effect of language skills on social skills was found. Fifth grade language skills were not found to predict adolescent problem behavior, however, an overall significant indirect effect was found. Finally, family emotional expressiveness was found to predict adolescent problem behavior, and this relationship was partially mediated by 6th grade social skills. Direct, indirect, and total effects of the various predictors of adolescent problem behavior are discussed in the final chapter.





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