Low-income adolescent mothers' knowledge about domains of child development

Catherine S. Tamis-LeMonda, Jacqueline Shannon, Mark Spellmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sixty low-income adolescent mothers of children ranging in age from birth to 28 months were asked to estimate the ages at which children are first able to engage in specific activities in cognitive, language, motor, play, and social development. In general, mothers were quite knowledgeable about the ordering of developmental abilities relative to one another, but were less knowledgeable about the developmental timing of abilities. With respect to timing, mothers tended to understimate the onset of all developmental abilities. That is, mothers predicted that children's developmental abilities would appear earlier than they actually do. Mothers' knowledge about cognitive, language, and motor abilities was stronger than their knowledge about abilities in play and social development. Across domains, mothers were more accurate at estimating the ages of abilities that emerge in the first year than those occurring during children's second and third years. Findings are discussed with respect to societal emphases on different domains of development, and the potential implications of unrealistic expectations for adolescent parenting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)88-103
Number of pages16
JournalInfant Mental Health Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Low-income adolescent mothers' knowledge about domains of child development'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this