LOW-INCOME LATINO IMMIGRANT MOTHERS AND THEIR TODDLERS: HOW DOES SOCIALIZATION PROMOTE INHIBITORY CONTROL SKILLS?
Aldoney Ramirez, Daniela
Cabrera, Natasha J.
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Executive function (EF), cognitive skills involved in planning and problem solving, includes inhibitory control as one of its major components. Inhibitory control skills and overall EF has been positively related to social, literacy, and math skills. Research on contextual factors has identified the quality of parenting and parental practices as important predictors of children’s EF skills. An emerging line of studies suggests that parental beliefs may also influence children’s EF. However, the literature has mostly focused on White middle-class children, so less is known about the way in which minority children living in low-income environments develop EF skills. Based on Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological model, I examined how low-income Latino mothers’ beliefs (familism and self-efficacy) relate to the quality of the mother-child interaction (scaffolding and intrusiveness) and practices (routines in the home) and how these, in turn, relate to their toddlers’ inhibitory control skills. I also examined whether maternal warmth moderated the association between the quality of the mother-child interaction and children’s inhibitory control skills. I used a multi-method design to collect observational and self-reported data on 51 low-income Latino mothers and their toddlers. Using multiple regression analysis, I found that self-efficacy was positively related to having routines in the home. Familism was not related to the quality of the mother-child interaction or practices. Controlling for scaffolding, intrusiveness was negatively associated with children’s inhibitory control skills. Warmth did not moderate this association, supporting the notion that intrusiveness, even in low levels, has negative consequences for toddlers regardless of whether their mothers are also warm. Findings from this study help to further the understanding of how the early experiences of Latino toddlers support the development of inhibitory control skills.