Child Psychiatry & Human Development

, Volume 44, Issue 3, pp 370–381 | Cite as

The Role of Caregiver Contingent Responsiveness in Promoting Compliance in Young Children

  • Christie M. Schueler
  • Ronald J. Prinz
Original Article


The purpose of this study was to examine relations between parents’ contingent responding and the behavior of their young children, in the context of other relevant parenting behaviors. Parents were observed interacting with their 3–6 year-old children during two laboratory tasks. Parent responses to child bids were classified into four mutually exclusive categories: contingent responses, non-contingent non-negative responses, negative responses, and no response. Hierarchical regression analyses were used to examine relations between contingent responsiveness and child compliance, after accounting for the quality of parent directives and parent negativity. Contingent responsiveness was uniquely associated with greater child compliance for mothers during both tasks and for fathers during one task. An interaction effect was found, indicating that fathers’ responsiveness during the second task was associated with greater child compliance in older, but not younger, children. Implications for clinical practice and future research directions are discussed.


Parenting Responsiveness Child compliance Early childhood 



This research was supported in part by grant #1R01HD042621 to Ronald Prinz from the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Applied and Professional PsychologyRutgers UniversityPiscatawayUSA
  2. 2.Parenting & Family Research Center, Psychology DepartmentUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA

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