Parental Interactions With Latino Infants: Variation by Country of Origin and English Proficiency

Authors


  • Jacqueline D. Shannon's research was supported by a grant from the American Educational Research Association which receives funds for its “AERA Grants Program” from the National Science Foundation and the National Center for Education Statistics of the Institute of Education Sciences (U.S. Department of Education) under NSF Grant #REC-0310268.
    This research was supported by a grant from the American Educational Research Association which receives funds for its “AERA Grants Program” from the National Science Foundation and the National Center for Education Statistics of the Institute of Education Sciences (U.S. Department of Education) under NSF Grant REC-0310268. Jeanne Brooks-Gunn would also like to thank The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development for their support. We wish to express our thanks to Allan Wigfield, Melanie Killen, and Ruth Zambrana for their thoughtful feedback and for their invaluable support of this work as well as Nina Philipsen for her help on manuscript preparation.
    The Early Childhood Longitudinal Study–Birth Cohort (ECLS–B) is being conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) within the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, in collaboration with several federal health, education, and human services agencies. The National Center for Health Statistics, the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Services, the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Office of Minority Health, the Office of Special Education Programs, and the Office of Indian Education are working collaboratively with NCES on this study. Opinions reflect those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the granting agencies.

concerning this article should be addressed to Natasha J. Cabrera, University of Maryland at College Park, 3304 Benjamin Bldg., Room 117E, College Park, MD 20742. Electronic mail may be sent to ncabrera@umd.edu.

Abstract

This study examined variation in mother–infant interactions, father engagement, and infant cognition as a function of country of origin, socioeconomic status, and English language proficiency in a national sample of Latino infants (age 9 months) born in the United States and living with both biological parents (N=1,099). Differences between Mexican-American infants, who had lower mother–infant interaction scores and less father physical play than did the other Latino infants, were associated with differences in acculturation (both parents' English proficiency). Indicators of acculturation and paternal reports of happiness with partner were associated with paternal engagement. Indicators of acculturation were also related to mother–infant interactions. Infant cognitive scores were associated with maternal interaction but not father engagement, and maternal but not paternal mental health.

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