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Dev Psychopathol. 2009 Spring;21(2):373-92. doi: 10.1017/S0954579409000212.

Predicting behavior problems in deaf and hearing children: the influences of language, attention, and parent-child communication.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Miami, 5665 Ponce de Leon Boulevard, Coral Gables, FL 33146-0751, USA. dbarker@psy.miami.edu


The development of language and communication may play an important role in the emergence of behavioral problems in young children, but they are rarely included in predictive models of behavioral development. In this study, cross-sectional relationships between language, attention, and behavior problems were examined using parent report, videotaped observations, and performance measures in a sample of 116 severely and profoundly deaf and 69 normally hearing children ages 1.5 to 5 years. Secondary analyses were performed on data collected as part of the Childhood Development After Cochlear Implantation Study, funded by the National Institutes of Health. Hearing-impaired children showed more language, attention, and behavioral difficulties, and spent less time communicating with their parents than normally hearing children. Structural equation modeling indicated there were significant relationships between language, attention, and child behavior problems. Language was associated with behavior problems both directly and indirectly through effects on attention. Amount of parent-child communication was not related to behavior problems.

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