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Language Delays and Child Depressive Symptoms: the Role of Early Stimulation in the Home

Abstract

The present study investigated the role of early stimulation in the home and child language delays in the emergence of depressive symptoms. Data were from a longitudinal study of at-risk children in Hawaii (n = 587). Low learning stimulation in the home at age 3 and language delays in first grade both significantly increased risk for child depressive symptoms in third grade. Structural equation modeling supported the hypothesized path models from home learning environment at age 3 to depressive symptoms in third grade controlling for a host of correlated constructs (maternal depression, child temperament, and child internalizing symptoms). Total language skills in the first grade mediated the effect of home learning environment on depressive symptoms. The study and findings fit well with a nurturing environment perspective. Implications for understanding the etiology of child depression and for designing interventions and prevention strategies are discussed.

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Correspondence to Keith C. Herman.

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Daniel Cohen, Sarah Owens and Tracey Latimore contributed equally to this work.

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Herman, K.C., Cohen, D., Owens, S. et al. Language Delays and Child Depressive Symptoms: the Role of Early Stimulation in the Home. Prev Sci 17, 533–543 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11121-016-0647-2

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Keywords

  • Home learning environment
  • Language delays
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Children