Publication Date



Open access

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Psychology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Marygrace Yale Kaiser - Committee Chair

Second Committee Member

Batya Elbaum - Committee Member

Third Committee Member

Christine F. Delgado - Committee Member


The current study examined the development of responding to joint attention (RJA), a prelinguistic skill, in a sample of children prenatally cocaine exposed. The sample used was part of a larger population of children randomly assigned to three levels of intervention. The growth of RJA in the current sample was best characterized by two linear growth groups determined by a semi-parametric growth modeling program. Each trajectory group was differentially associated with three language outcomes. Gender, treatment group, and birthweight were three risk factors that influenced the likelihood of belonging to either growth cluster. RJA?s predictive significance in terms of concurrent and subsequent language was also established, accounting for the variance associated with contemporaneous measures of cognition. The findings (regarding the relationship between RJA and language) were consistent with previous research examining joint attention behaviors in other types of samples. Additionally, this study contributed uniquely to the body of research on joint attention by exploring the growth of RJA, a precursor of language, in a sample of children at risk for language impairment.


PROCTRAJ; Risk; Trajectory; Prenatal Cocaine Exposure; Language; Responding To Joint Attention