Play interactions and interviews of depressed and conduct disorder children and their mothers

Tiffany M. Field, David Sandberg, Sheri Goldstein, Robert Garcia, Nitza Vega-Lahr, Kathleen Porter, Monica Dowling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Normal, depressed and conduct disorder children (M age=5 years) were interviewed (as were their mothers) and observed in free play and puzzle completion tasks both alone and together with their mothers to determine differences in temperament, behavior problems and play interaction behaviors. The depressed children reported more "depressed" feelings, lower self-esteem and more external locus of control, although their mothers were indistinguishable from mothers of normal children on interviews, and their dyadic play behavior together suggested less fantasy play and less involvement. The conduct disorder children's interview responses did not differ from their normal peers, although their mothers reported more self-depression, more external locus of control and less nurturant childrearing practices and rated their children as having more active temperaments. The conduct disorder children were more active motorically and less interactive during play sessions, and their mothers were less interactive and more disapproving than the other mothers. These results are discussed in the context of the literature on different behavior problems, self-concept, temperament and childrearing practices in these two groups of disturbed children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-234
Number of pages22
JournalChild Psychiatry & Human Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 1 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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