All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

James M Ernest

Advisory Committee Members

Fred J Biasini

Anneliese C Bolland

Kathleen Martin

Beverly Mulvihill

Scott Snyder

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Education


Early childhood poverty is a prevalent social issue, conservatively impacting one in two children worldwide and one in five in the United States. It has been well established that factors associated with poverty have been linked to diminished cognitive, linguistic, and social-emotional outcomes in children. Additionally, young children are being increasingly exposed to media, technology, and screen time (MeTS) at home and in instructional settings, and little is known about the long-term effects of MeTS in regard to children’s development. Although individual components that relate to language, cognitive, and social-emotional development in young children have been identified, additional examination of potential associative relationships between these components, as well as further investigation of MeTS in relation to children’s development is warranted. Using Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory as a lens, the overarching goal of this project was to examine multiple factors impacting language, cognitive, and social-emotional development in a purposefully selected group of young children from impoverished homes. Three related studies contributed to this examination. In the initial study, Principal Components and MANOVA analyses were utilized to examine MeTS usage across childcare centers reflective of varying socio-demographic strata. Results indicated differences across, as well as similarities between centers regarding children’s MeTS exposure, as well as caregiver opinions regarding what should be considered developmentally appropriate use of MeTS with young children. The second study explored potential factors related to young children’s language and cognitive development. Multiple Linear Regression Path Analysis results from this study indicated that children’s cognition and social-emotional wellbeing had a significant direct effect on their language development. Language and fine motor development were found to have a significant direct effect and social-emotional wellbeing mediated an indirect effect through language on children’s cognitive development. The third study in the series combined elements of the first two studies to further explore language development in young children from impoverished homes. MLR analysis indicated that cognition, social-emotional development, behavioral self-regulation, and children’s age had direct effects on language development. Collectively, these studies help to further elucidate important sociocultural, developmental, and technological factors that have the potential to impact young children’s language, cognitive, and social-emotional outcomes.

Included in

Education Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.