Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 51–63 | Cite as

Communication styles of children of mothers with affective disorders, chronic medical illness, and normal controls: A contextual perspective

  • Elizabeth Burney Hamilton
  • Constance Hammen
  • Gayane Minasian
  • Maren Jones


Research has demonstrated impaired parent-child relationships in families with affective disorders. The present study examines the association of children's interactional style during a direct conflict-solving task to both the mother's interactional style and the child's diagnostic status. The sample includes 63 children, ages 8 to 16, of mothers with affective disorders, chronic medical illness, and normal controls. Children's dominant coping style profile (CS) (autonomous, neutral, or critical) was related to their mother's affective style (AS) (benign or negative). Affective disorder in the child at 6-month followup was associated with a critical CS profile at intake, while the child's nonaffective symptomatology was unrelated to CS. Findings indicate that children's affective disturbance is linked to interpersonal deficits in affectively charged situations. Results suggest that the child's CS is more strongly predicted by maternal aa than by either the child's or the mother's diagnostic status.


Normal Control Affective Disorder Coping Style Medical Illness Diagnostic Status 
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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Altman, E. O., & Gotlib, I. H. (1988). The social behavior of depressed children: An observational study.Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 16, 29–44.Google Scholar
  2. Asarnow, J. R., Goldstein, M. J., & Ben-Meir, S. (1988). Parental communication deviance in childhood onset schizophrenia spectrum and depressive disorders.Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 29, 825–838.Google Scholar
  3. Cook, W. L., Asarnow, J. R., Goldstein, M. J., Marshall, V. G., & Weber, E. (1990). Mother-child dynamics in early-onset depression and childhood schizophrenia spectrum disorders.Development and Psychopathology, 2, 71–84.Google Scholar
  4. Cook, W. L., Strachan, A. M., Goldstein, M. J., & Miklowitz, D. J. (1989). Expressed emotion and reciprocal affective relationships in families of disturbed adolescents.Family Process, 28, 337–348.Google Scholar
  5. Doane, J. A., Dingemans, P., Goldstein, M. J., & Zaden, S. (1989).Affective style coding manual. Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles.Google Scholar
  6. Doane, J. A., Falloon, I. R. H., Goldstein, M. J., & Mintz, J. (1985). Parental affective style and the treatment of schizophrenia: Predicting course of illness and social functioning.Archives of General Psychiatry, 42, 34–42.Google Scholar
  7. Doane, J. A., & Lewis, J. M. (1984). Measurement strategies in family interaction research: A profile approach in N. F. Watt, E. J. Anthony, L. C. Wynne, & J. Rolf (Eds.),Children at risk for schizophrenia: A longitudinal perspective. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Doane, J. A., West, K. L., Goldstein, M. J., Rodnick, E. H., & Jones, J. E. (1981). Parental communication deviance and affective style: Predictors of subsequent schizophrenia spectrum disorders in vulnerable adolescents.Archives of General Psychiatry, 38, 679–685.Google Scholar
  9. Endicott, J., & Spitzer, R. (1978). A diagnostic interview: The Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia.Archives of General Psychiatry, 35, 837–844.Google Scholar
  10. Goldstein, M. J., Miklowitz, D. J., Strachan, A. M., Doane, J. A., Neuchterlein, K. H., & Feingold, D. (1989). Patterns of expressed emotion and patient coping styles that characterize the families of recent-onset schizophrenics.British Journal of Psychiatry, 155, 107–111.Google Scholar
  11. Hahlweg, K., Doane, J. A., Goldstein, M. J., Nuechterlein, K. H., Magana, A. B., Mintz, J., Miklowitz, D. J., & Snyder, K. S. (1989). Expressed emotion and patient-relative interaction in families of recent onset schizophrenics.Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 57, 11–18.Google Scholar
  12. Hammen, C., Gordon, D., Burge, D., Adrian, C., Jaenicke, C., & Hiroto, D. (1987). Communication patterns of mothers with affective disorders and their relationship to children's status and social functioning. In K. Hahlweg & M. J. Goldstein (Eds.),Understanding major mental disorder: The contribution of family interaction research. New York: Family Process Press.Google Scholar
  13. Hamilton, E. B., Jones, M., & Hammen, C. (1993).Maternal interaction style and its correlates in women with affective disorders, or chronic medical illness and normal controls. Manuscript submitted for publication.Google Scholar
  14. Kazdin, A. E., Esveldt-Dawson, K., Sherrick, R. B., & Colbus, D. (1985). Assessment of overt behavior and childhood depression among psychiatrically disturbed children.Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 53, 201–210.Google Scholar
  15. Kovacs, M. (1989). Affective disorders in children and adolescents.American Psychologist, 44, 209–215.Google Scholar
  16. Kovacs, M., Gatsonis, C., Marsh, J., & Richards, C. (1988).Intellectual and cognitive development in childhood-onset depressive disorders: A longitudinal study. Manuscript submitted for publication.Google Scholar
  17. Lewinsohn, P. M., Hoberman, H. M., Teri, L., & Hautzinger, M. (1985). An integrative theory of depression. In S. Reis & R. R. Bootzin (Eds.),Theoretical issues in behavior therapy. (pp. 331–359). Orlando, FL: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  18. Miklowitz, D. J., Goldstein, M. J., Neuchterlein, K. H., Snyder, K. S., & Mintz, J. (1988). Family factors and the course of bipolar affective disorder.Archives of General Psychiatry, 45, 225–231.Google Scholar
  19. Orvaschel, H., Puig-Antich, J., Chambers, W., Tabrizi, M., & Johnson, R. (1982). Retrospective assessment of prepubertal major depression with the Kiddie-SADS-E.Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry, 21, 392–397.Google Scholar
  20. Puig-Antich, J., Blau, S., Marx, N., Greenhill, L., & Chambers, W. (1978). Prepubertal major depressive disorder: Pilot study.Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry, 17, 695–707.Google Scholar
  21. Puig-Antich, J., Lukens, E., Davies, M., Goetz, D., Brennan-Quattrock, J., & Todak, G. (1985). Psychosocial functioning in prepubertal major depressive disorders: II. Interpersonal relationships after sustained recovery from the affective episode.Archives of General Psychiatry, 42, 511–517.Google Scholar
  22. Puig-Antich, A. M., Feingold, D., Goldstein, M. J., Miklowitz, D. J., & Nuechterlein, K. H. (1989). Is expressed emotion an index of a transactional process? II. Patients' coping style.Family Process, 28, 169–181.Google Scholar
  23. Strachan, A., Feingold, D., Zaden, S., & Valone, K. (1990).Patient Coping Style: A Coding Manual for Patients' Interactional Behavior. Unpublished manuscript, University of California, Los Angeles.Google Scholar
  24. Wells, K. B., Burnam, M. A., Leake, B., & Robins, L. N. (1988). Agreement between face-to-face and telephone administered versions of the depression section of the NIMH Diagnostic Interview Schedule.Journal of Psychiatric Research, 22, 207–220.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth Burney Hamilton
    • 1
  • Constance Hammen
    • 1
  • Gayane Minasian
    • 1
  • Maren Jones
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CaliforniaLos Angeles, Los Angeles

Personalised recommendations