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Psychology Doctoral Dissertation Defense: Nelcida L. Garcia

Thursday, December 9 at 12:00pm to 2:00pm

DM - Deuxieme Maison, 258
11200 SW 8th ST 33199, Deuxieme Maison, Miami, Florida 33199

Understanding the Home Spatial Environment

Informed by Relational Developmental Systems Theory and the Theory of Academic Socialization, this dissertation examines whether mothers and the early home spatial environment play a role in children’s spatial development. First, in a sample of 165 mother-child dyads, structural equation modeling was used to determine the direct and indirect effects of mothers’ spatial ability on child spatial ability. Results did not show a significant relation between mothers’ spatial ability, the home spatial environment, and children’s spatial ability. Second, in a sample of 152 mothers of four- to six-year-old children, mothers’ interest in STEM and spatial anxiety were examined in relation to the frequency of mother-child spatial play. Findings showed that mothers’ interest in STEM and general anxiety predicted mother-child spatial play, but not mothers’ intrinsic spatial anxiety. These findings suggest that mothers with low interest in STEM and/or high levels of general anxiety should be targeted for training in how to foster children’s spatial skills at home through play. Future research should use spatial language use or quality of parent spatial support as measures of the home spatial environment instead of frequency of spatial play and explore whether, and how, child and father characteristics contribute to the home spatial environment.

Major Professor: Dr. Shannon Pruden

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Zoom Meeting ID: 98025413427

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