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Mother-son interactions in families of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder Seipp, Carla Marguerite

Abstract

This study compares a general pattern or style of parenting behaviors, termed responsiveness, in mothers of sons with comorbid Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), mothers of sons with ADHD only, and mothers of nonproblem sons. Participants include 87 mothers with sons ranging in age from 7 to 9 years. Twenty-five sons were in the comorbid ADHD and ODD group, 24 in the ADHD group, and 38 had no behavioral difficulties. Mothers were videotaped in a small laboratory room while playing with their sons and engaging in a clean up task with them. Maternal responsiveness was assessed using a previously developed observational coding protocol. Mothers of sons with comorbid ADHD and ODD were found to be significantly less responsive than mothers of nonproblem control sons. However, mothers of sons with only ADHD were neither significantly less responsive than mothers of nonproblem sons, nor significantly more responsive than mothers of sons with ADHD and ODD. This study replicated previous findings of mothers using more positive affective tone and being more involved in the free play compared to the clean up condition, offering further validation for the maternal responsiveness coding protocol. This study builds upon existing literature finding greater disruption in parenting behavior in families of children with ADHD and ODD compared to families of nonproblem children. The results of this study highlight the importance of distinguishing families of children with ADHD and ODD from families of children with ADHD only, particularly when examining parenting variables. The findings of this study offer some support for the clinical utility of including responsiveness training as a component of parent training interventions for ODD in children with ADHD.

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