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Individual differences in child temperament have been associated with individual differences in language development. Similarly, relationships have been reported between early nonverbal social communication (joint attention) and both temperament and language. The present study examined whether individual differences in joint attention might mediate temperament-language relationships. Temperament, language, and joint attention were assessed in 51 21-month-olds. Results indicated an inverse relationship between aspects of temperamental difficulty, including low executive control and high negative affect, and language development. Temperamental aspects of negative affect were also inversely predictive of joint attention. However, the utility of a model in which joint attention mediates the relationship between temperament and language during the second year was not supported.

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Copyright 2007 Wayne State University Press. This document was originally published in Merrill-Palmer Quarterly.