Family interaction and child psychopathology: A comparison of two observation strategies

Mark R. Dadds*, Matthew R. Sanders

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


We examined two systems of assessing family interactions that are in common usage: a home based observation of free parent-child interaction and a clinic based observation of a structured mother-child problem solving discussion. Participants were 18 depressed, 27 conduct disordered and 16 comparison children and their mothers. Results indicated that: 1) these observations may yield very different data about child, and to a lesser extent, parent behavior, 2) parental affect in the clinic was related to their level of aversive behaviour in the home, 3) levels of both aversive and positive behavior for children and their mothers were correlated within each setting, 4) accuracy of diagnostic classifications made on the basis of the observational data were highest for comparison and conduct disordered children, but lowest for depressed children observed in the clinic, and 5) the inclusion of data on mothers' behavior increased classification accuracy for conduct disordered children only.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-391
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • child
  • conduct disorder
  • depression
  • family interaction
  • observation


Dive into the research topics of 'Family interaction and child psychopathology: A comparison of two observation strategies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this