Parent Mediators of Child Academic Outcomes in a Home-visiting Program Targeting School Readiness

Open Access
Author:
Loughlin-presnal, John Edward
Graduate Program:
Psychology
Degree:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
March 24, 2015
Committee Members:
  • Karen Linn Bierman, Thesis Advisor
Keywords:
  • School Readiness
  • Intervention
  • Academic Expectations
  • Mechanisms of change
Abstract:
School readiness at kindergarten entry is a robust predictor of children’s future academic success. The strong influence of parenting on school readiness is well-documented, as are the school readiness deficits of children from low-SES families relative to their upper income peers. While a variety of parent-focused interventions exist to address this gap, to date, these interventions have rarely examined hypothesized mechanisms of change, nor have they have directly targeted parent academic expectations. This study examines the mechanisms of change in a school readiness intervention, focusing on the influence of intervention-driven gains in parent academic expectations, along with the parenting skills targeted in the intervention (i.e., parent dialogic reading and language use). Participants were 210 prekindergarten children attending Head Start and their caregivers, who were randomized to either the REDI (Research-based Developmentally Informed) Parent program (REDI-P), a 16-session home-visiting intervention that promoted parent-child interactions designed to foster language, literacy, and social-emotional development, or a control group that received “mail home” math games. Results showed that gains in parent academic expectations associated with intervention significantly mediated intervention effects on child literacy skills and self-directed learning. Although intervention promoted gains in parent self-reported reading quality and language use, these gains did not mediate child outcomes. Results are discussed in terms of their implications for future directions as well as intervention development.