Working memory mediates the effects of gestational age at birth on expressive language development in children

Valentina Riva, Chiara Cantiani, Ginette Dionne, Andrea Marini, Sara Mascheretti, Massimo Molteni, Cecilia Marino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: This study tested the role of temporary memory, measured by phonological short-term memory (pSTM) and verbal working memory (vWM), as a mediator of the effect of 3 putative risk factors (i.e., socioeconomic status, home literacy environment, birth gestational age) upon expressive and receptive language. Method: A community-based sample of 646 Italian children aged 6-11 years was assessed with a comprehensive battery of language and cognitive tests. A mediation analysis was used to examine whether memory mediates environmental/biological effects on language. Results: The results demonstrated a developmental cascade of effects, whereby the duration of pregnancy drives vWM functioning that, in turn, may affect expressive linguistic outcome Conclusion: Treatments focused on vWM, specifically to preterm children, may improve their language development, with enduring consequences on educational and psychosocial outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)475-485
Number of pages11
JournalNeuropsychology
Volume31
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2017

Keywords

  • Environmental/biological factors
  • Language
  • Mediation
  • Memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

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