Mother-child and father-child relationships in middle childhood

Graeme Russell, Alan Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article reports a combined interview observation study of parent-child relationships in families with an eldest child aged 6-7 years 57). Interview data focused on time spent with children, performance of child-need tasks, frequency of parent-child interactions. Parent and child behaviors during a 1'/2-hour home tion were coded into 20 categories, and ratings were made of affective reactions to these behaviors. Analyses revealed that mothers interacted with their children more, were more directive, and more involved in caregiving, whereas fathers' interactions occurred more frequently in the of play. Mothers, however, were not found to be more responsive to their children, and fathers not more negative or restrictive. Significant interactions were not found between sex of parent sex of child. Implications are examined for theoretical analyses of mother/father differences, generalizations from observational data, and for multimethod approaches.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1573-1585
Number of pages13
JournalChild Development
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1987


  • Parent-child relationship
  • mothers
  • fathers


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