Stability of maternal discipline practices and the quality of mother-child interaction during toddlerhood

Keng Yen Huang, Margaret O'Brien Caughy, Li Ching Lee, Therese Miller, Janice Genevro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


This study examined the stability of maternal punitive/high-power discipline (PD) and inductive/authoritative discipline (ID) over the second and third years of life and the effect of maternal discipline on quality of mother-child interactions. Data from a longitudinal sample with 179 mother-toddler dyads were analyzed, and selected factors (i.e., child sex, temperament) that might moderate the association between maternal discipline and quality of mother-child interactions were also examined. Maternal discipline, quality of mother-child interactions, and temperamental moderators were measured at 16-18 months (Time 1) and 34-37 months (Time 2). Results showed that the stability of maternal use of discipline strategies over the toddler years was moderate. Lower maternal use of PD, higher maternal use of ID, and higher preference/reliance on ID (relative to PD) were associated with higher quality of mother-child interactions. Moderation effects of child temperament were also found. High ID and PD were associated with low quality of mother-child relationships in non-temperamentally difficult children but not in temperamentally difficult children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-441
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Attachment
  • Maternal discipline
  • Mother-child interaction
  • Stability
  • Temperament

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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