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Marital Satisfaction, Family Emotional Expressiveness, Home Learning Environments, and Children's Emergent Literacy


  • This article was edited by Cheryl Buehler.

Department of Human Development and Family Studies, 552 W. Circle Drive, 7 Human Ecology Bldg., Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824 (


The current study investigates associations among marital satisfaction, family emotional expressiveness, the home learning environment, and preschool-aged children's emergent literacy skills among 385 Midwestern mothers and their children. Path analyses examined how marital satisfaction related to emotional expressiveness in the home and whether this path was associated with the home learning environment and children's literacy skills. Higher maternal satisfaction was associated with higher levels of positive and lower levels of negative family emotional expressiveness. Additionally, family emotional environments characterized by mothers with higher positive expression were related to better home learning environments, which in turn were associated with higher literacy skills in children. Study findings underscore the importance of marital and family processes when considering young children's academic development.