Manifestations of bidirectionality in the father-child relationship: connections to children's language and development
Cremeens, Penny Rene
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Language is a bidirectional phenomenon that is established within parent-child relationships, influenced by both parent and child, as well as by characteristics of parent-child interactions and the parent-child relationship. Although relations between mother-child interactions and language have been examined, less is known about father-child interactions and language outcomes. This study examines how family income, father personality, child temperament, father-child interaction patterns, father-child attachment, and early child language combine to influence language development across time. It was predicted that child agency, indexed by early language abilities, would influence child language outcomes as posited by Bloom and Tinker's (2001) intentionality model of language development. Findings indicate that child language measures at 15 months predict receptive language development at 36 months. Additionally, child compliance to father initiations and father-child mutual compliance predicted receptive language at 36 months. More distal factors, father personality and father-child attachment, also predicted child receptive language at 36 months. No predictors significantly influenced child expressive language at 36 months. Further, most language measures were significantly correlated between 15 and 24 months, and between 24 and 36 months, but not between 15 and 36 months. Future research should continue to identify variations in the trajectory of language development based on child, father, father-child interaction, and father-child relationship characteristics.