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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)



First Advisor

Esther Cohen

First Committee Member

Martin T. Gipson

Second Committee Member

Kenneth L. Beauchamp


Clinical intervention with behavior problem children has traditionally focused on the ways in which parents modify the behavior of their children. This study examined this unidirectional approach in reverse, by investigating the effects of children's behavior on their parents. In a laboratory setting 18 boys, aged 8-12 years old, interacted with their mothers in a structured and unstructured task situation. I taught the children in the experimental group (n = 9) to maintain eye contact and smile while speaking, say thank you, avoid provocation, and ask for help and feedback. Unfortunately, the training failed to reliably carry over to the task sessions with the mothers. But, children in the experimental group exhibited significantly less noncompliance and negative interaction than children in the control group. Parents of children in the experimental group exhibited significantly less noncompliance and negative verbal and behavioral contact than control group parents.



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