Dynamic bidirectional associations in negative behavior: Mother-toddler interaction during a snack delay

Niyantri Ravindran, Daniel Berry, Nancy L. McElwain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Theoretical models posit real-time bidirectional processes between parents and children as integral to child development, yet few studies have examined such processes. In this study, cross-lagged autoregressive latent growth models were used to assess the dynamic organization of mother and toddler behavior across a snack-delay task. Maternal support and nonsupport and toddler aversive behaviors were rated in 15-s intervals (N = 127 dyads; mean toddler age = 32.7 months). As hypothesized, within-mother increases in nonsupport predicted within-child increases in aversive behavior in the subsequent interval. Likewise, within-child increases in aversive behavior predicted within-mother increases in nonsupport. Maternal support was unassociated with child aversive behavior. Findings are consistent with a dynamic model of mother-toddler influences on negative behaviors during a regulatory challenge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1191-1198
Number of pages8
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2019



  • Bidirectional
  • Mother-toddler dynamics
  • Within-person analyses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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