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Mothers’ "on-line" attributions as predictors of parenting response to nonproblem boys and boys with ADHD behaviour Scoular, Douglas J.


Factors were examined that influence mother-child interactions and the choices that mothers make in deciding how to best respond to their children's behavior. A study was conducted employing a naturalistic think aloud method to assess mothers' attributions. The Study included 45 mothers of non-problem sons and 45 mothers of sons with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). Sons ranged from 9 to 13 years of age. Mothers' instructed their sons to perform four separate task behaviors. Each mother was instructed to vocalize her thoughts as she watched her son engage in the task. At task completion, the mother was given an opportunity to provide feedback to her child regarding his task behavior. Each mother's think aloud comments were coded for descriptions of child behaviour and attributions regarding the cause of the child's behavior. In addition, the mothers' feedback comments were coded for quality of praise (Positive, Qualified, Criticism). In comparison to mothers of nonproblem sons, mothers of sons with ADHD were more likely to attribute child success to external factors. Moreover, mothers of sons with ADHD were generally more likely than mothers of nonproblem sons to attribute child failure to factors internal to the child. Hierarchical regressions were performed to examine the contributions of mothers' attributions to predicting feedback to the child above and beyond the contributions from group membership, descriptions of child behaviour and demographic variables. Results indicate that internal controllable stable attributions for success predict positive feedback Discussion of results include limitations of method and possible improvements for future studies.

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