Antecedents of coercive interactions in physically abusive mother-child dyads

Susan Goff Timmer, Joaquin Borrego, Anthony J. Urquiza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


In this study, we investigate the possibility that parents ' questions lead to coercive interaction patterns in abusive versus nonabusive mother-child dyads. The interaction patterns of 15 abusive and 15 nonabusive mother-child dyads were examined as they performed structured play tasks in a clinic setting. We used sequential analyses to examine how children responded to their parents' questions compared to neutral comments and how parents responded to their children 's answers versus their failure to answer. Abusive and nonabusive parents asked similar numbers of questions, and abused and nonabused children had similarly high response rates to those questions. However, results showed that when children did not answer questions, abusive parents were more likely to give commands and less likely to make neutral comments than nonabusive parents. Clinical implications for working with physically abusive parent-child relationships are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)836-853
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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