Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 219–241 | Cite as

Mother-Child Conflict Interaction in the Toddler Years: Behavior Patterns and Correlates

  • Keng-Yen Huang
  • Douglas M. Teti
  • Margaret O’Brien Caughy
  • Stanley Feldstein
  • Janice Genevro
Original Paper


We examined mother-child (M-C) conflict behavior during the toddler years. The nature of M-C conflict behaviors, whether conflict behavior differed by context, and factors that were associated with conflict interactions were examined. We used data collected as part of the National Evaluation of the Healthy Steps for Young Children Program. 378 M-C dyads participated in this study. Videotaped observational data at 16–18 months were used to code conflict behaviors using an event recording method. Results showed that M-C conflict were more likely to be initiated by the mothers and that conflict interactions were influenced by context of interaction, family, maternal, and child temperamental factors. In this study, we provide a foundation for understanding parent-child conflict interaction prior to age two.


Mother-child Conflict Toddler Observation Parenting 



This research is based on data collected from the Healthy Steps for Young Children Program; data collection was funded by the William T. Grant Foundation, The Amarillo Area Foundation, The Duke Endowment, The Hogg Foundation and The McLeod Foundation. Partial results from the study were presented at the 2005 Society for Research in Child Development Biennial Meeting in Atlanta, GA. The advice of Dr. Tess Miller and Dr. Raymond Starr, and support from Dr. Cynthia Minkovitz, Dr. Bernard Guyer, Dr. Donna Strobino, Ms. Nancy Hughart, and Theresa Schmitz are gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Keng-Yen Huang
    • 1
  • Douglas M. Teti
    • 2
  • Margaret O’Brien Caughy
    • 3
  • Stanley Feldstein
    • 4
  • Janice Genevro
    • 5
  1. 1.NYU Child Study CenterNew York University, School of MedicineNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Human Development and Family StudiesPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  3. 3.School of Public HealthUniversity of Texas Health Science Center at HoustonDallasUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Maryland Baltimore CountyBaltimoreUSA
  5. 5.Population and Family ScienceBloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA

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