Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 1–17 | Cite as

Indiscriminate mothering as a contextual factor in aggressive-oppositional child behavior: “Damned if you do and damned if you don’t”

  • Jean E. Dumas
  • Robert G. Wahler


Fifty-two mother-child dyads took part in a parent training program to modify coercive, antisocial child behavior. Prior to intervention, scores on 14 measures of mother-child interaction and on an index of maternal community contacts (known as “insularity”) were obtained for each dyad. This index was used to divide the sample into two groups (noninsular n = 21; insular n = 31). The interactional measures were then compared between the groups. Insular mothers were more aversive and indiscriminate than noninsular mothers in their use of aversive behavior toward their children, while their children were more aversive than noninsular children, especially in response to aversive maternal behavior. It was concluded that research and therapeutic work with deviant families should focus not only on immediate family interactions but also on the extra family environment in which these interactions take place.


Child Behavior Apply Behavior Analysis Rule Violation Daily Contact Parent Training Program 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean E. Dumas
    • 1
  • Robert G. Wahler
    • 1
  1. 1.University of TennesseeUSA

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