The Mediating Effect of the Home Learning Environment on the Relationship Between Maternal Depression and Children's Letter Knowledge
Nartker, Courtney L.
Parents play a large role in children's literacy development. Although children do learn many of the early literacy skills in preschool, they are also learning them in the home environment. Parents must provide a rich learning environment in the home for their children and any lack of parenting can be damaging to children's literacy development. The lack of parenting can be due to many different reasons, one of them being maternal depression. Limited research has investigated the effects of maternal depression on preschool children's academic outcomes, especially those that lead to the literacy development. This study examined how maternal depression may influence children's letter knowledge through its effects on the home learning environment acting as a mediator. The participants were 181 mothers and their child who attended one of three lab preschools. Mothers completed a questionnaire inquiring about their level of depression and learning activities they provided in the home during the winter of the school year. Children's letter knowledge was assessed directly in the spring. The results indicate that there is no significant, direct relationship between maternal depression scores and children's uppercase and lowercase letter knowledge. However, the home learning environment partially mediates the relationship between maternal depression and both children's uppercase and lowercase letter knowledge as demonstrated by use of a Sobel test.
v, 33 p.
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