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J Abnorm Child Psychol. 2004 Apr;32(2):203-13.

Parenting disruptive preschoolers: experiences of mothers and fathers.

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  • 1Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611, USA.


This study examined parental functioning and interactions with young children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), with emphasis on differences between mothers and fathers in their responses to their child and in their unique contributions to the prediction of child disruptive behavior. Participants were 53 3- to 6-year olds with ODD who presented for treatment with two parents. Mothers reported more severe disruptive behavior and higher parenting stress than fathers. During parent-child interactions, mothers showed more responsiveness than fathers, even though children were more compliant during interactions with fathers. Regression analyses showed that fathers' parent-related stress was predictive of both mothers' and father's reports of disruptive child behavior; mothers' marital satisfaction was predictive of behavioral observations of child compliance with both mothers and fathers. This study revealed several important differences in the experiences of mothers versus fathers of disruptive children and indicates the importance of including the father in the child's assessment and treatment.

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