Maternal correlates of 2-year-old American Indian children's social-emotional development in a Northern Plains tribe


  • This research was supported by funds from the Administration for Children and Families (90YF 0021 and 90YF 0053/05 AIH 002), the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (R01 HD42760), and the National Institute of Mental Health (K01 MH63260).


The developmental experiences of very young American Indian children today are not well documented in the current literature. The present study sought to explore the social-emotional development of American Indian toddlers living on a Northern Plains reservation, as a function of maternal variables. Mothers completed self-report questionnaires about their experiences and their children's development. Observer ratings of children's development also were conducted. Maternal stress, substance use/abuse, perceptions of stress in the mother–child relationship, social support, and American Indian cultural identity were significantly related to children's social-emotional development. This study is the first to explore these relationships in a Northern Plains American Indian sample of young children and their mothers. Results suggest possible points of intervention for improving the developmental outcomes of very young American Indian children.