Maternal warm responsiveness and negativity following traumatic brain: Injury in young children

Joy M. Fairbanks, Tanya M. Brown, Amy Cassedy, H. Gerry Taylor, Keith O. Yeates, Shari L. Wade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Purpose/Objective: To understand how traumatic brain injury (TBI) affects maternal warm responsiveness and negativity over the first 12 months following injury. Method/Design: We used a concurrent cohort research design to examine dyadic interactions in young children with a TBI (n = 78) and a comparison group of young children with orthopedic injuries (OI; n = 112) and their families during the initial weeks following injury (i.e., baseline) and at two follow-up periods (approximately 6 and 12 months later). Trained raters coded videotaped interactions during a free play and structured teaching task for maternal warm responsiveness and negativity. Results: Mothers in the complicated mild/moderate TBI group, but not those in the severe TBI group, exhibited significantly lower levels of maternal warm responsiveness than mothers in the OI group. However, these differences were observed only at baseline during free play and only at baseline and 6 months postinjury during the structured teaching task, suggesting diminishing adverse effects of complicated mild/moderate TBI on parenting over time postinjury. Analysis failed to reveal group differences in maternal negativity at any of the assessments. Across groups, lower socioeconomic status (SES) was associated with lower levels of warm responsiveness and higher levels of negativity. Conclusions/ Implications: These findings, though preliminary, indicate possible alterations in mother-child interactions in the months following a TBI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-232
Number of pages10
JournalRehabilitation Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2013


  • Direct observation
  • Early childhood
  • Longitudinal study
  • Mother-child interactions
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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