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

Louise Cherry, Michael Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


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. (15 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)278-282
Number of pages5
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1976
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


  • sex of child, mother-child verbal interaction during play, 2 yr olds & their mothers


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