Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 43, Issue 4, pp 761–774 | Cite as

Syndrome Specificity and Mother–Child Interactions: Examining Positive and Negative Parenting Across Contexts and Time

Original Paper


This study examined the extent to which child syndromes and observation context related to mothers’ parenting behaviors. Longitudinal observations were conducted of parenting behavior across ages 3, 4, and 5 years during structured and unstructured activities. The 183 participants included mothers of children with autism spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, undifferentiated developmental delay, or typical cognitive development. Negative parenting behaviors were higher in structured activities and higher in mothers of children in all developmentally delayed groups. Positive parenting was higher in unstructured activities and especially high for mothers of children with Down syndrome. Despite differences found through direct observation of parenting children in different diagnostic groups, they are not as strong as syndrome-group differences found through more commonly used self-report questionnaires assessing domains like parenting stress.


Developmental disabilities Parenting behaviors Autism 



This paper was based on the activities of the Collaborative Family Study, supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Grant number: 34879-1459 (Drs. Bruce L. Baker, Jan Blacher, and Keith Crnic PIs). We are indebted to our staff, to the doctoral students who worked on this study, and to the families who participated in this longitudinal research. Support was also provided by the SEARCH Family Autism Resource Center in the Graduate School of Education, UC Riverside. Araksia Kaladjian.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Blacher
    • 1
  • Bruce L. Baker
    • 2
  • Araksia Kaladjian
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate School of EducationUniversity of CaliforniaRiversideUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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