Master of Arts (MA)


Communication Sciences and Disorders

Document Type



The purpose of this study was to examine the usefulness of the MacArthur- Bates Communicative Development Inventory (CDI) as an assessment tool for low-income, African American (AA) children. The data were from eighty-seven typically developing AA children, aged 8 to 30 months; these children were recruited from childcare centers that served low-income populations in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Each participant’s primary caregiver completed a biographical sketch and a CDI inventory. Two analyses were completed. The first analysis examined the distribution of the CDI scores relative to the child’s age, gender, birth order, and level of maternal education. The second analysis involved examination of the subsections and items of the vocabulary checklist sections of both versions of the CDI. For the first analysis, the children’s percentile scores were found to be normally distributed. Raw scores on the CDI were also found to increase with the children's ages, and a moderate correlation between CDI raw scores and age was identified. First-born children exhibited higher levels of expressive language than their later-born peers. Additionally, significant group differences were found between males and females on sections of the CDI Words and Gestures inventory, but the direction of the main effects varied across sections. Group differences were not significant for level of maternal education, but a restricted range of educational levels may have contributed to this finding. For the second analysis, results indicated that every item (except basement) from each of the vocabulary sections was comprehended and/or produced by one or more of the children. Sections with the greatest number of marked items included the Sound Effects and Animal Sounds and Games and Routines. Together, these results indicate that the CDI can be considered a useful tool for assessing the early language development of low-income, AA children.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Janna Oetting