Physically abusive mothers' responses following episodes of child noncompliance and compliance

Joaquin Borrego, Susan Goff Timmer, Anthony J. Urquiza, William C. Follette

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The authors used sequential analysis to examine specific interaction patterns between physically abusive mothers and their children following episodes of noncompliance and compliance. Fifteen abusive and 15 nonabusive, low-risk mother-child dyads were observed, and their behaviors were coded for specific interactions. The children in the study ranged in age from 2 to 6 years. Results indicated that after noncompliance occurred, physically abusive mothers were more likely than nonabusive mothers to respond negatively and give another command. When child compliance occurred, there were no group differences in the likelihood of praising their children's prosocial behavior, but physically abusive mothers were less likely than nonabusive mothers to engage in other forms of positive behavior (e.g., positive touch) after compliance. Clinical implications are discussed in the context of working with physically abusive families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)897-903
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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