Date of Award

2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Menna, Rosanne

Keywords

Interactional synchrony, Mutuality, Parent-child relationship, Parenting attitudes, Preschool aggression, Preschool social skills

Rights

CC BY-NC ND 4.0

Abstract

The present study examined the association between the quality of parent-child interaction and child outcomes. Specifically, global interactional synchrony, the individual synchrony components of mutual initiation and mutual compliance, and mother’s attitudes towards parenting (satisfaction with parenting, involvement, and communication) were examined as predictors of young children’s social skills and aggression. One hundred and thirty-one preschool-aged children (3-6 years) and their mothers engaged in a videotaped free play task and a structured task. These interactions were coded for global mother-child interactional synchrony and the individual synchrony components of mutual initiation and mutual compliance. The results revealed that higher levels of mother-child mutual initiation and mutual compliance were associated with higher levels of interactional synchrony. Higher levels of interactional synchrony and mutual compliance were associated with lower levels of child physical aggression, whereas higher levels of mutual initiation were associated with higher levels of child physical and relational aggression. Higher levels of interactional synchrony were associated with higher ratings of child assertion skills. Higher self-report ratings of maternal involvement were associated with lower levels of child physical aggression. Higher ratings of satisfaction with parenting, parent-child involvement and communication were associated with higher ratings of child social skills. Finally, ratings of communication were associated with higher levels of interactional synchrony and higher ratings of satisfaction with parenting were associated with higher levels of mutual initiation, whereas higher levels of satisfaction and involvement were associated with lower levels of mutual compliance. The findings help clarify the construct of interactional synchrony and shed light on the role of parent-child interaction in children’s social development—providing insights into interventions with aggressive young children.

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