An exploration of the domain specificity of maternal sensitivity among a diverse sample in the infancy period: Unique paths to child outcomes

Lindsay Taraban, Daniel S. Shaw, Pamela A. Morris, Alan L. Mendelsohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Maternal sensitivity during an observed mother–child clean-up task at 18 months and maternal sensitivity during an observed mother–child free-play task at 18 months were tested as independent predictors of child internalizing symptoms, externalizing symptoms, social competence, and language development at 24 months. Participants (n = 292 mothers) were recruited between 2015 and 2017, and were low-income (mean annual income = $19,136) and racially and ethnically diverse (43.8% Black; 44.2% Latinx). Maternal sensitivity during clean-up was a significant predictor of all social-emotional outcomes, and a unique predictor of child internalizing symptoms. Maternal sensitivity during free-play was a unique predictor of child language. Results suggest that context-specific subtypes of maternal sensitivity may differentially relate to early child outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalChild development
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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