Communicative Function Use of Preschoolers and Mothers From Differing Racial and Socioeconomic Groups Purpose This study explores whether communicative function (CF: reasons for communicating) use differs by socioeconomic status (SES), race/ethnicity, or gender among preschoolers and their mothers. Method Mother–preschooler dyads (N = 95) from the National Center for Early Development and Learning's (2005)  study of family and social environments were ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 05, 2018
Communicative Function Use of Preschoolers and Mothers From Differing Racial and Socioeconomic Groups
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Danai Kasambira Fannin
    School of Allied Health and Communicative Disorders, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb
  • Oscar A. Barbarin
    Department of African American Studies, University of Maryland, College Park
  • Elizabeth R. Crais
    Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Danai Kasambira Fannin: dfannin@niu.edu
  • Editor-in-Chief: Shelley Gray
    Editor-in-Chief: Shelley Gray×
  • Editor: Patricia Brooks
    Editor: Patricia Brooks×
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / School-Based Settings / Language Disorders / Social Communication & Pragmatics Disorders / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 05, 2018
Communicative Function Use of Preschoolers and Mothers From Differing Racial and Socioeconomic Groups
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, April 2018, Vol. 49, 306-319. doi:10.1044/2017_LSHSS-17-0004
History: Received January 6, 2017 , Revised April 4, 2017 , Accepted October 26, 2017
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, April 2018, Vol. 49, 306-319. doi:10.1044/2017_LSHSS-17-0004
History: Received January 6, 2017; Revised April 4, 2017; Accepted October 26, 2017

Purpose This study explores whether communicative function (CF: reasons for communicating) use differs by socioeconomic status (SES), race/ethnicity, or gender among preschoolers and their mothers.

Method Mother–preschooler dyads (N = 95) from the National Center for Early Development and Learning's (2005)  study of family and social environments were observed during 1 structured learning and free-play interaction. CFs were coded by trained independent raters.

Results Children used all CFs at similar rates, but those from low SES homes produced fewer utterances and less reasoning, whereas boys used less self-maintaining and more predicting. African American mothers produced more directing and less responding than European American and Latino American mothers, and Latino American mothers produced more utterances than European American mothers. Mothers from low SES homes did more directing and less responding.

Conclusions Mothers exhibited more sociocultural differences in CFs than children; this suggests that maternal demographic characteristics may influence CF production more than child demographics at school entry. Children from low SES homes talking less and boys producing less self-maintaining coincided with patterns previously detected in pragmatic literature. Overall, preschoolers from racial/ethnic minority and low SES homes were not less deft with CF usage, which may inform how their pragmatic skills are described.

Supplemental Material https://doi.org/10.23641/asha.5890255

Acknowledgments
This study was partially funded by the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Caroline H. and Thomas S. Royster Five-Year Fellowship, awarded to Danai Kasambira Fannin. The NCEDL Multi-State Study of Pre-Kindergarten and Familial and Social Environments supplement were supported by the Foundation for Child Development, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, McCormick Tribune Foundation, and National Educational Research and Development Centers Program Grant R307A960004, as administered by the Institute of Education Sciences of the U.S. Department of Education. The authors thank all participants, the RAs, Sierra Carter, Kathi Zung Lyons, and Shira Horowitz.
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