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Noncompliant behavior, overactivity, and family stress as predictors of negative maternal control with preschool children

  • Susan B. Campbell (a1), Elizabeth W. Pierce (a1), Cynthia L. March (a1) and Linda J. Ewing (a1)


The independent contributions of preschool children's noncompliance and overactivity/inattention and measures of family stress to the prediction of negative maternal control were examined in two cohorts of children. In Cohort 1, children's noncompliant and hyperactive behavior each predicted more negative maternal control, whereas in Cohort 2, the interaction between noncompliance and overactivity was predictive of particularly high levels of negative control. In Cohort 2, stressful life events, maternal depression, and marital distress were also associated with negative maternal control. Stressful life events interacted with noncompliance indicating that the combination of a difficult child and a high level of family stress exacerbated the tendency of mothers of preschool children to exert negative control to gain compliance. Results indicate that factors external to the mother-child relationship exert an independent influence on maternal behavior.



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