Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Date of Award

January 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Marjorie Beeghly


The quality of the home environment has a significant influence on various child outcomes. The current study investigated the predictive utility and stability of the home environment in a sample of 114 African American children from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. Analyses were conducted using archival data from the Early Development project, a study of the normative development of African American children. This project is consistent with a call by the Society for Research in Child Development (Cabrera, 2013) for research on the positive development of children from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. The purpose of the present study was to compare the relative importance of children's home environment, using the Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment inventory (HOME; Caldwell & Bradley, 1984), administered during a home visit when children were 12 and 48 months of age, in predicting children's 48-month cognitive and psychosocial outcomes. A second goal was to evaluate the stability of children's home environments over time. The specific child outcomes investigated in this study included: general cognitive competencies, behavioral problems, and quality of mother-child interaction observed during a challenging problem-solving sequence at preschool age. Results indicated that the preschool HOME was a stronger predictor of children's cognitive competencies and behavior problems than the infancy month HOME, but both the infancy and preschool HOME predicted the quality of mother-child interaction. Results also indicated that these findings remained significant even after controlling for socioeconomic status (SES), as indexed by income/needs ratio. Findings also demonstrated that HOME scores were moderately stable over time; however some families exhibited change. Children from families with high-quality home environments at each time point had the most optimal preschool outcomes.