Mothers and two-year olds: A study of sex-differentiated aspects of verbal interaction.

Louise J Cherry, Michael Lewis

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12 White, upper-middle-class, English-speaking mothers and their 2-yr-old children (6 male, 6 female) were studied in a spontaneous play situation. The mean differences for mother-male compared with mother-female dyads on 12 measures of quantitative and qualitative aspects of speech showed mothers of female children talked more, asked more questions, repeated their children's utterances more often, and used longer utterances compared with mothers of male children. Mothers of male children used more directives compared with mothers of female children. Results suggest a continuity of a similar pattern of greater verbal quantity and responsivity for mother-female compared with mother-male dyads.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)278
Number of pages282
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1976



  • mother child interaction
  • socialization
  • language

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