Developmental Pathways to Integrated Social Skills: The Roles of Parenting and Early Intervention


  • The authors thank John Willett, Dick Murnane, Kristen Bub, Kurt Fischer, and the members of the Early Head Start Consortium. Research was supported by a grant from the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Grant 90YR0008, and by a grant from NICHD, Grant 1 F32 HD050040-01. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Health and Human Services, or the National Institutes of Health.

  • The findings reported here are based on research conducted as part of the national Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project funded by the ACF, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under Contract 105-95-1936 to Mathematica Policy Research, Princeton, NJ, and Columbia University’s Center for Children and Families, Teachers College, in conjunction with the Early Head Start Research Consortium. The Consortium consists of representatives from 17 programs participating in the evaluation, 15 local research teams, the evaluation contractors, and ACF. Research institutions in the Consortium (and principal researchers) include ACF (Rachel Chazan Cohen, Judith Jerald, Esther Kresh, Helen Raikes, and Louisa Tarullo); Catholic University of America (Michaela Farber, Harriet Liebow, Nancy Taylor, Elizabeth Timberlake, and Shavaun Wall); The Center for Children and Families at Columbia University (Lisa Berlin, Christy Brady-Smith, Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, and Allison Sidle Fuligni); Harvard University (Catherine Ayoub, Barbara Alexander Pan, and Catherine Snow); Iowa State University (Dee Draper, Gayle Luze, Susan McBride, Carla Peterson); Mathematica Policy Research (Kimberly Boller, Jill Constantine, Ellen Eliason Kisker, John M. Love, Diane Paulsell, Christine Ross, Peter Schochet, Cheri Vogel, and Welmoet van Kammen); Medical University of South Carolina (Richard Faldowski, Gui-Young Hong, and Susan Pickrel); Michigan State University (Hiram Fitzgerald, Tom Reischl, and Rachel Schiffman); New York University (Mark Spellmann and Catherine Tamis-LeMonda); University of Arkansas (Robert Bradley, Richard Clubb, Andrea Hart, Mark Swanson, and Leanne Whiteside-Mansell); UCLA (Carollee Howes and Claire Hamilton); University of Colorado Health Sciences Center (Robert Emde, Jon Korfmacher, JoAnn Robinson, Paul Spicer, and Norman Watt); University of Kansas (Jane Atwater, Judith Carta, and Jean Ann Summers); University of Missouri-Columbia (Mark Fine, Jean Ispa, and Kathy Thornburg); University of Pittsburgh (Beth Green, Carol McAllister, and Robert McCall); University of Washington School of Education (Eduardo Armijo and Joseph Stowitschek); University of Washington School of Nursing (Kathryn Barnard and Susan Spieker), and Utah State University (Lisa Boyce, Gina Cook, Catherine Callow-Heusser, and Lori Roggman)

concerning this article should be addressed to Catherine Ayoub, Massachusetts General Hospital, 388 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215. Electronic mail may be sent to


Dynamic skill theory was utilized to explain the multiple mechanisms and mediating processes influencing development of self-regulatory and language skills in children at 14, 24, and 36 months of age. Relations were found between family risks, parenting-related stresses, and parent–child interactions that contribute either independently or through mediation to the child’s acquisition of self-regulatory skills even when accounting for the influence of language development. Variation in impacts between control and Early Head Start (EHS) intervention samples was compared to explore the sequence of developmental mechanisms over time. Findings indicate that EHS protects parenting, child language, and self-regulatory development from the effects of demographic risks and parenting stress, and thus supports parents to raise healthy children.