Multi-domain predictors of trajectories of language development in early childhood

Andrea Elizabeth Anushko, Fordham University


The current study sought to address some of the broader questions regarding the rate and course of expressive and receptive language development in young children from approximately 12 months of age to kindergarten while focusing on specific factors that influence those trajectories. Two hundred and thirty children and their families followed at four consecutive time points completed the MacArthur Communicative Development Inventories - Short Forms (MCDI) and the Child Development Inventories (CDI). Additionally three categories of predictors were used to explain the variation in the expressive and receptive trajectories: (1) sociodemographic predictors; (2) social emotional predictors; and (3) language exposure predictors. Using latent growth curve modeling techniques two models of expressive and receptive language development were created with the three predictor categories. Consistent with previous research, in the final models lower sociodemographic risk, higher competence, and greater language exposure were associated with higher initial levels of receptive language. Greater competence and language exposure were associated with higher initial values of expressive language. Lower sociodemographic risk was associated with higher growth over time for expressive language. Furthermore, children formed groups of high or low growth over time within receptive and expressive development, as well as across both categories. Children residing in the higher groups had significantly lower risk and higher perceptual and behavior reading scale scores than their low group counterparts for receptive and expressive language. High group children for expressive language also had higher competence than low group children. Children who were able to accelerate from low to high groups for receptive and expressive language had significantly more exposure to and experience with language through book reading activities than their peers who remained in the low growth group across the time points. Results from this study highlight the usefulness of latent growth curve modeling for examining the trajectories of language development. Additionally, finding support those from earlier research, suggesting these three sets of predictors can and do influence language development. The impact of these findings in the context of general development and for intervention purposes is also addressed.

Subject Area

Linguistics|Developmental psychology

Recommended Citation

Anushko, Andrea Elizabeth, "Multi-domain predictors of trajectories of language development in early childhood" (2008). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3310412.