Conversational Interactions of Mothers and Their Preschool Children Who Had Been Born Preterm This study examined the conversational interactions of mothers’ and their 4.5-year-old children, who had been bom preterm, during a social problem-solving task asking each dyad to agree on the choice of a snack. Relative to comparison mothers, mothers of preterm children seemed to approach the task as a vocabulary lesson; ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 1995
Conversational Interactions of Mothers and Their Preschool Children Who Had Been Born Preterm
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Mavis L. Donahue
    University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Ruth Pearl
    University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Contact author Mavis L. Donahue, EdD, College of Education, m/c 147,1040 W. Harrison Street, University of Illinois, Chicago, IL 60607. E-mail: mavis.donahue@uic.edu
Article Information
Normal Language Processing / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 1995
Conversational Interactions of Mothers and Their Preschool Children Who Had Been Born Preterm
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 1995, Vol. 38, 1117-1125. doi:10.1044/jshr.3805.1117
History: Received February 4, 1994 , Accepted March 24, 1995
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 1995, Vol. 38, 1117-1125. doi:10.1044/jshr.3805.1117
History: Received February 4, 1994; Accepted March 24, 1995

This study examined the conversational interactions of mothers’ and their 4.5-year-old children, who had been bom preterm, during a social problem-solving task asking each dyad to agree on the choice of a snack. Relative to comparison mothers, mothers of preterm children seemed to approach the task as a vocabulary lesson; they produced less complex sentences and were more likely to name the snacks and to test their children’s knowledge of snack names. Comparison mothers were more likely to focus on the social negotiation aspect of the task, by offering more opinions and reasons. Discussed is whether the conversational strategies of mothers of preterm children reflect appropriate “fine-tuning” or a lag in adjusting to their children’s emerging language skills because of a lingering “prematurity stereotype.”

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by grants from the National Foundation of the March of Dimes and the National Institutes of Health Biomedical and Behavioral Research Grant Program. We are grateful for the assistance of Allen Herzog, Claire Grossman, Tanis Bryan, and Carol Ceithaml in various phases of this research. A preliminary version of this paper was presented at the University of Wisconsin Symposium on Research in Child Language Disorders, Madison, Wisconsin, June 1984.
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