An intervention focused on maternal sensitivity enhanced mothers' verbal responsiveness to infants

Patrícia Alvarenga, Yana Kuchirko, Maria Ángeles Cerezo, Euclides José de Mendonça Filho, Roger Bakeman, Catherine S. Tamis-LeMonda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigated the effectiveness of an intervention aimed at enhancing maternal sensitivity on mothers' verbal responsiveness to infants. Forty-four mothers from low-income, Brazilian homes and their 3-month-old infants were randomly assigned to intervention (n = 22) and comparison (n = 22) groups. The intervention spanned eight monthly home visits, during which mothers were trained to acknowledge and respond to infants' behaviors. Maternal verbal responsiveness was assessed during dyadic free play when infants were 11 and 18 months old. We computed the probability that mothers would follow infants' behaviors with verbal unimodal (only verbal) or multimodal (simultaneous verbal and non-verbal) responsiveness. We found higher proportions of multimodal verbal responsiveness in the intervention group than in the comparison group at both ages. Infants in the intervention group displayed more communicative behaviors than did infants in the comparison group. Interventions focused on maternal sensitivity may support maternal verbal responsiveness and early language development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101313
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • Intervention
  • Language development
  • Maternal verbal responsiveness
  • Mother-infant interaction
  • Sequential analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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