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The Interactions of Normal and Hyperactive Children with Their Mothers in Free Play and Structured Tasks

Charles E. Cunningham and Russell A. Barkley
Child Development
Vol. 50, No. 1 (Mar., 1979), pp. 217-224
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1129059
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1129059
Page Count: 8
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The Interactions of Normal and Hyperactive Children with Their Mothers in Free Play and Structured Tasks
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Abstract

Groups of 20 normal and 20 hyperactive boys ranging in age from 6 to 12 years were observed interacting with their mothers in 15-min free-play and 15-min structured-task situations. Using a 15-sec interval coding procedure, 1 observer recorded the mother's response to specific antecedent behaviors of the child while a second observer recorded the child's response to specific behaviors of the mother. Hyperactive boys proved more active, less compliant, and less likely to remain on task than nonhyperactive peers. Mothers of hyperactive boys were less likely to respond positively to the child's social interactions, solitary play activities, or compliant on-task behavior. In addition, mothers of hyperactive boys imposed more structure and control on the child's play, social interactions, and task-oriented activities. It is suggested that the controlling intrusive style observed among the mothers of hyperactive boys, while initially a response to the child's overactive, impulsive, inattentive style, may further contribute to the child's behavioral difficulties.

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