Developmental effects of family environment on outcomes in pediatric cochlear implant recipients

Rachael Frush Holt, Jessica Beer, William G. Kronenberger, David B. Pisoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To examine and compare the family environment of preschool- and school-age children with cochlear implants and assess its influence on children's executive function and spoken language skills. STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective between-subjects design. SETTING: Outpatient research laboratory. PATIENTS: Prelingually deaf children with cochlear implants and no additional disabilities and their families. INTERVENTION(S): Cochlear implantation and speech-language therapy. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Parents completed the Family Environment Scale and the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (or the preschool version). Children were tested using the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-4 and either the Preschool Language Scales-4 or the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals-4. RESULTS: The family environments of children with cochlear implants differed from normative data obtained from hearing children, but average scores were within 1 standard deviation of norms on all subscales. Families of school-age children reported higher levels of control than those of preschool-age children. Preschool-age children had fewer problems with emotional control when families reported higher levels of support and lower levels of conflict. School-age children had fewer problems with inhibition but more problems with shifting of attention when families reported lower levels of conflict. School-age children's receptive vocabularies were enhanced by families with lower levels of control and higher levels of organization. CONCLUSION: Family environment and its relation to language skills and executive function development differed across the age groups in this sample of children with cochlear implants. Because family dynamics is one developmental/environmental factor that can be altered with therapy and education, the present results have important clinical implications for family-based interventions for deaf children with cochlear implants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)388-395
Number of pages8
JournalOtology and Neurotology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1 2013


  • Cochlear implants
  • Executive function
  • Family environment
  • Language

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Medicine(all)

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