Differential associations between maternal scaffolding and toddler emotion regulation in toddlers born preterm and full term

Sarah J. Erickson, Susanne W. Duvall, Janell Fuller, Ron Schrader, Peggy MacLean, Jean R. Lowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Parental "scaffolding" behavior has been associated with developmental outcomes in at-risk children. Aims: Because there are limited empirical data regarding how scaffolding is associated with emotion-based developmental skills, the purpose of this study was to compare associations between maternal verbal scaffolding and toddler emotion regulation, including fewer displays of negative affect and increased contentment and enjoyment during play, in toddlers born preterm and full term. Study design: This study was a cross-sectional cohort design. Maternal and toddler behavior was assessed during 5. min of videotaped free play with standardized toys. Subjects: 131 toddlers (18-22. months) and their mothers were included (77 born preterm; 54 born full term). Outcome measures: Toddler emotion regulation, negative affect, and dyadic mutual enjoyment were coded from videotaped play. Results: The association between maternal scaffolding and emotion regulation was different for dyads with a toddler born preterm versus full term, wherein the association was positive for toddlers born preterm and non-significant for toddlers born full term. Similarly, the association between maternal scaffolding and negative affect was different for the two groups: negative for toddlers born preterm and non-significant for toddlers born full term. Finally, the association between maternal scaffolding and mutual enjoyment was positive for toddlers born preterm and non-significant for toddlers born full term. Conclusions: Our findings highlight early differences in mother-child interactive style correlates of children born preterm compared to those born full term. Maternal scaffolding behavior may be uniquely associated with emotion regulation and a positive dyadic encounter for toddlers born preterm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)699-704
Number of pages6
JournalEarly Human Development
Volume89
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2013

Keywords

  • Affect
  • Emotion regulation
  • Maternal scaffolding
  • Mutual enjoyment
  • Preterm
  • Toddler communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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