Relations among joint attention, attachment, and language outcome in typically developing infants

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

First Committee Member

Peter Mundy - Committee Chair


There is a dearth of research examining relations among joint attention (JA; an infant's social attention coordination with a social partner), attachment, ethnicity, and language and cognitive outcome. This study examined relations among these constructs in a large-scale longitudinal study of typically developing infants. Attachment was analyzed in two forms: (1) the traditional A, B, and C classifications, and (2) a set of quantitative scales. Mediational and moderational models including various measures of JA and attachment were examined as possible pathways to language and cognitive outcome. In addition, the ethnically diverse sample was examined for effects of cultural background and language exposure on these processes. The results of this study revealed several new observations. First, attachment and JA were related. These associations, however, were most frequently evident in the context of infant-caregiver communication, rather than infant-tester communication. Second, JA was related to the 24-month language/cognitive outcome, but attachment by itself was not a significant predictor of language/cognitive outcome in this study. However, a related finding was that the relations between JA and outcome appeared to be moderated by quantitative measures of attachment-related behaviors. Finally, the data in this study indicated that the foregoing relations and effects were evident in typically developing infants regardless of ethnicity.


Psychology, Social; Psychology, Developmental; Hispanic American Studies

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