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Psychol Aging. 1996 Mar;11(1):147-54.

Perceptions of baby talk, frequency of receiving baby talk, and self-esteem among community and nursing home residents.

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Department of Psychology, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.


Community-living seniors (n = 113) and nursing home residents (n = 43) provided their impressions of baby-talk and neutral-talk scenarios and completed measures of functional health, need for succorance, and self-esteem. Two orthogonal dimensions were found in perceptions of baby talk: Warmth and Superiority. The personality trait of need for succorance was consistently associated with perceptions of warmth in baby talk, whereas functional health, age, and institutionalization were associated with perceptions of superiority. Significant interactions were found between perceptions of baby talk and frequency of receiving baby talk in the prediction of self-esteem, providing suggestive evidence for previously expressed concerns about potentially harmful effects of receiving baby talk on self-esteem among seniors who have negative perceptions of baby talk. However, older persons with positive perceptions of baby talk reported higher self-esteem when they frequently received baby talk, in accordance with person-environment theory. The self-esteem interaction for men occurred on the Superiority dimension, whereas the interaction for women occurred on the Warmth dimension.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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