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ERIC Number: ED442566
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-May
Pages: 94
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Verbal Environment of Children and Its Impact on the Development of a Sense of Self: A Comparison of Well and Depressed Mothers.
Howard, Julie A.
This review of the literature regarding the impact of maternal speech on the formation of a child's sense of self compares the speech of well mothers to that of depressed mothers. The review finds that maternal speech has a strong influence on the formation of symbolic self-representations during the toddler period. However, depressed mothers' speech is significantly different from that of normal mothers in terms of both content and process, and these differences have been shown to affect the way that children come to view themselves. Although no study specifically addressed the effect of depressed mothers' speech on the development of presymbolic self-representations, it is highly likely to have some effect via the mother's difficulty in maintaining interactions. Depressed mothers speak less to their infants, exaggerate their intonations less, and take longer to respond to infants, suggesting that interactions may be awkward at best or nonreinforcing at worst. Depressed mothers' speech to infants also appears to be critical and negative. These structural and content differences in depressed maternal speech carry over to the toddler period. The studies suggest that depressed mothers may be assisting their children in developing symbolic-self-representations that are highly negative in nature. However, the picture is more dynamic and complicated than is presented due to the impact of other individuals in the child's environment. How a father, siblings, peers, teachers, and grandparents respond will affect the process of forming an integrated sense of self. In addition, qualities within the child, such as temperament, will also affect the process. (Contains 70 references.) (HTH)
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A