Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 216–226 | Cite as

Maternal Interactive Behaviours in Parenting Children with Williams Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder: Relations with Emotional/Behavioural Problems

  • Joana Baptista
  • Adriana Sampaio
  • Inês Fachada
  • Ana Osório
  • Ana R. Mesquita
  • Elena Garayzabal
  • Frederico Duque
  • Guiomar Oliveira
  • Isabel Soares
Original Paper


This study compared maternal responsiveness to children with two neurodevelopmental disorders sharing different but, in some cases, overlapping social phenotypes—Williams syndrome (WS) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD)—and explored the relations between maternal responsiveness and child emotional/behavioural problems (EBP). The sample included 16 pre-schoolers with WS and 43 with ASD, and their mothers. Responsiveness was assessed during a mother–child interaction task. Mothers completed the CBCL 1½–5, providing a measure of EBP. No significant differences emerged between groups, and most dyads were characterized by less responsive behaviours. Maternal responsiveness proved related to child developmental age, but not with EBP. These results provide further insight into the rearing environment of children with neurodevelopmental disorders, highlighting the need for early relationship-based interventions.


Maternal responsiveness CBCL 1½–5 Williams syndrome Autism spectrum disorder Neurodevelopmental disorders 



This study was conducted within the Psychology Research Centre (PSI/01662), University of Minho, and supported by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (PTDC/PSI-PCL/101506/2008; also Grant SFRH/BPD/100994/2014 assigned to the first author), and by the Portuguese Ministry of Education and Science, Technology and Higher Education through national funds, and co-financed by FEDER through COMPETE2020 under the PT2020 Partnership Agreement (POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007653). The authors are very grateful to the students who helped in data collection and coding. Special thanks go to the children and mothers who participated in the study.

Author Contributions

IS, AS, ARM and JB designed the present study. JB conducted the statistical analyses. JB and AS interpreted the results and drafted the initial manuscript. IF collected data for the study. All authors interpreted the results, and critically revised the manuscript and approved the final manuscript as submitted.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures were in accordance with the ethical standards of the national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments. Informed consents were obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joana Baptista
    • 1
  • Adriana Sampaio
    • 1
  • Inês Fachada
    • 1
  • Ana Osório
    • 2
  • Ana R. Mesquita
    • 1
  • Elena Garayzabal
    • 3
  • Frederico Duque
    • 4
    • 5
  • Guiomar Oliveira
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  • Isabel Soares
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychology Research Center (CIPsi)School of Psychology of the University of MinhoBragaPortugal
  2. 2.Mackenzie Presbyterian UniversitySão PauloBrazil
  3. 3.Department of LinguisticsUniversity Autónoma of MadridMadridSpain
  4. 4.Neurodevelopmental and Autism Unit from Child Developmental Center and Centro de Investigação e Formação Clinica, Hospital PediátricoCentro Hospitalar e Universitário de CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  5. 5.University Clinic of Pediatrics, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  6. 6.Institute for Biomedical Imaging and Life SciencesFaculty of Medicine, University of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal

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