Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 407–417 | Cite as

Maternal characteristics, ratings of child behavior, and mother-child interactions in families of children with externalizing disorders

  • Charlotte Johnston
  • William E. PelhamJr.


Relationships among maternal characteristics, ratings of child behavior, and observed mother-child interactions were examined in a sample of 40 4- to 12-year-old children with externalizing disorders. Mothers and children were observed in a task interaction and mothers provided self-reports of depressed mood, parenting self-esteem, marital satisfaction, social support, and life stress. Child behavior was rated by both mothers and teachers. Several significant correlations were found among observed mother and child behaviors and among maternal self-report measures. However, few significant relationships were found between maternal characteristics and observed mother or child behavior. Although life stress predicted increased child negativity, maternal depressed mood was related to more appropriate child behavior. Mother and teacher ratings of child behavior demonstrated few significant relationships with other measures. These results suggest that, in samples comprised primarily of children with attention deficit disorder from socially advantaged families, few relationships exist between maternal characteristics, parenting behavior, and child behavior.


Social Support Significant Relationship Life Stress Child Behavior Depressed Mood 
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 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charlotte Johnston
    • 1
  • William E. PelhamJr.
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryWestern Psychiatric Institute and ClinicPittsburgh

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