Maternal depression significantly influences parent-child interactions. While the existence of this impact is well established during playtime, little research has been conducted on the way that maternal depression relates to shared book reading. This is a particularly important activity because it relates to children’s language and literacy development. The present study has two goals. First, it aims to provide a fine-grained analysis of the conversations that take place while parents and children share books. Few studies have evaluated such characteristics. Second, it seeks to determine whether maternal depression or demographics can account for some of the differences in shared book reading. One hundred and five mother-child dyads participated in the study. Maternal depression was assessed by Zimmerman’s Diagnostic Inventory of Depression (DID). Videotapes of each parent-child dyad engaging in a book sharing episode were evaluated. The number of conversational turns taken by the mother and child were recorded and the content of each utterance was coded. In addition, the number of extratextual words uttered by the mothers and the length of reading times were calculated. Dramatic quality of the mothers’ reading and fluctuations in pitch were also noted. Analyses revealed that the positive features of shared book reading were highly intercorrelated with one another. Three distinctly different reading styles emerged based on the content of maternal utterances. Further, support was found for the previous findings that depressed mothers are less sensitive and positive and more preoccupied in their interactions with their children. In addition, demographics, particularly maternal education and age, also predicted book reading characteristics. These negative impacts of depression are particularly concerning when considering the important benefits that shared book reading confers on children’s literacy and language development. Future work should seek to better understand how shared book reading might mediate the relationship between maternal depression and literacy development.
|School||STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK AT STONY BROOK|
|Subjects||Social psychology; Reading instruction; Clinical psychology; Individual & family studies|
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