DOI: 10.1177/01650254241236396 ISSN: 0165-0254

Associations among symbolic functioning, joint attention, expressive communication, and executive functioning of children in rural areas

Chun-Hao Chiu, Bradford H. Pillow,
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Social Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Education

The purpose of this study is to investigate the relations among children’s symbolic functioning at 15 months, joint attention at 24 months, expressive communication at 24 and 36 months, and executive functioning at 36 months. With the sample from rural areas in the United States collected by the Family Life Project ( N = 1,008), a longitudinal data analysis was conducted. The results of structural equation modeling suggested that children’s symbolic functioning at 15 months and children’s executive functioning at 36 months was directly related to each other. These two variables were also indirectly related to each other through joint attention at 24 months and expressive communication at 24 and 36 months. Psychological distancing and verbal and nonverbal communication were used to explain the role symbolic functioning plays in the development of executive functioning during the second and the third years of children’s lives.

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