, Volume 30, Issue 6, pp 541-553

Early Parent–Child Relations and Family Functioning of Preschool Boys with Pervasive Hyperactivity

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This study examined the quality of parent–child relationships and family functioning of preschool children with early onset hyperactivity by comparing a community sample of 33 pervasively hyperactive preschool boys with a comparison sample of 34 boys. Mothers and children were assessed at home on a range of interview, parent questionnaire, and observational measures of parenting and family functioning. Results of the study showed that higher rates of reported lax disciplinary practices, less efficient parental coping, lower rates of father–child communication, and less synchronous mother–child interactions were significantly associated with hyperactivity following statistical adjustment for the effects of conduct problems and other confounding factors. The best parenting predictor of hyperactivity was maternal coping. The present findings suggest that the way in which parents interact with their preschool children may make a unique contribution to the development and ongoing behavioral difficulties experienced by children with pervasive hyperactivity. Findings also highlight the importance of considering the role of fathers in the behavioral development of boys with early tendencies to hyperactive and distractible behavior problems.