Joint Attention in Toddlerhood Predicts Internalizing Problems at Early School Age
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The authors examined the longitudinal relation between joint attention and socioemotional functioning in a low-risk, typically developing sample of children when the children were toddlers and again during the early school-age years. Fifty-eight mothers and their children were observed in the home or laboratory engaging in 1 unstructured and 4 semistructured tasks designed to assess joint attention episodes when the children were toddlers. Approximately 4 years later, the mother-child dyads were contacted again and mothers completed the Child Behavior Checklist as a measure of their children's socioemotional outcome at the early school years. The authors found that lower frequencies of joint attention episodes at toddlerhood predicted higher internalizing behaviors at early school age. Preliminary findings are discussed in terms of their theoretical implications for work on early mother-child interactions and children's typical and atypical sociemotional development.
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