The relevance of maternal scaffolding behaviours in infancy to child cognitive abilities and academic achievement : a bioecological study

Mermelshtine, Roni (2016) The relevance of maternal scaffolding behaviours in infancy to child cognitive abilities and academic achievement : a bioecological study. Doctoral thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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Abstract

The development of cognitive and academic abilities can be understood as part of a larger ecological system. One mechanism said to promote the development of these abilities is scaffolding, a process characterised by contingent response, and cognitive and emotional support, aimed at promoting autonomy. In a diverse sub-sample of 400 mother-child dyads from the Families, Children and Child Care study, maternal scaffolding-related behaviours were recorded during semi-structured play interactions when children were 10 months. Employing the Process-Person-Context-Time model (Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 2006), the study aims were threefold: (1) to test whether mothers’ show behaviours akin to the central dimensions of scaffolding during play interactions with infants, (2) to address individual differences in maternal scaffolding behaviours, and (3) to explore the relevance of these behaviours for child cognitive abilities in the preschool years, and academic attainment at age 11 years. Maternal behaviours reflecting the main dimensions of scaffolding were explained by an overarching construct labelled ‘scaffolding-like behaviours’. Child (play maturity at 10 months), mother (age, personality, ethnicity, first language and education) and context (family size and neighbourhood adversity) characteristics, explained unique variations in these behaviours. After taking person and context characteristics into consideration, these behaviours predicted children’s non-verbal ability but not verbal ability at 51 months, an association moderated by maternal levels of education. Non-verbal ability mediated the effects of maternal scaffolding-like behaviours on child English and maths academic attainment at age 11 years. 4 Studying a large and diverse English sample, the current study made the following contributions: it elucidated some of the mechanisms by which individual differences in scaffolding occur, and illustrated that alongside proximal and distal contextual factors, maternal behaviours in the first year continue to be relevant to child intellectual development.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
School/Department: School of Science > Psychological Sciences
Depositing User: ORBIT Editor
Date Deposited: 21 Apr 2017 16:33
Last Modified: 21 Apr 2017 16:33
URI: http://bbktheses.da.ulcc.ac.uk/id/eprint/203

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