Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Lisa M. Lopez, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Tony Tan, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Sophia Han, Ph.D.

Committee Member

John Ferron, Ph.D.


maternal responsiveness, Latino mothers, dual language learners, language


This longitudinal study examined the role maternal responsiveness had on shaping Spanish and English language development in bilingual two year-old children. Because children who are bilingual language learners are oftentimes coming from low socioeconomic families it is essential that we investigate the ways in which they develop language in order to better serve this population. Maternal responsiveness is one source in which we can examine early language development of young bilingual children. Eight Latino mother-child dyads were observed and assessed at three time points. Each observation was coded for maternal responsive behaviors. Regression and multilevel modeling was used in order to assess which maternal responsive behaviors impacted Spanish and English language outcomes. Results indicated joint topic focus as being overwhelmingly impactful across Times 2 and Times 3 in both languages. Additionally, prohibition was found to be negatively influencing English language outcomes at Times 2 and Times 3. Interestingly, focus shift was found to have a positive impact on English language outcomes at Time 2. Given the findings, this work sheds light on the similarities and differences between cultures and the need for further research surrounding this population.