Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Departmental Honors




This investigation compared interaction behaviors of African-American and European-American mothers with children who had or were at medical risk for disabilities as measured by Maternal Behavior Rating Scale (MBRS; Mahoney, 1992). The relationships between these mothers' interaction ratings and three groups of independent variables (mother/family demographic characteristics, measures of family functioning, and child characteristics) were also examined. T-tests were used to examine the differences between the two groups. Significant differences were found on SES variables, particularly income. Samples were restricted to those with incomes of $32,500 or less. Analysis of covariance procedures were performed using race and family structure as independent variables and mother's age, mother's education, child's age, and family income as covariates. Statistically significant main effects were found for race on interaction ratings including expressiveness, enjoyment, warmth, sensitivity, responsiveness, inventiveness, effectiveness, and acceptance, and for family structure on pace and directiveness. No interaction effects were observed. Intra-item correlations of the maternal interaction ratings were completed separately for the African-American and European-American groups. High Pearson correlation coefficient (based on Fisher Z transformations) calculated between the comparable elements of the two samples' correlation matrices indicated similarity of internal structure patterns of MBRS for the two groups. Differences found on maternal interaction ratings by race may reflect cultural variations. For example, family structure (e.g. the role of extended family members), sociocultural contexts, and parenting goals and beliefs might contribute to the observed differences. Further research is needed to complete the investigation of the appropriateness of the MBRS for use with different socio-cultural populations.

Included in

Psychology Commons



Faculty Mentor

Richard W. Rehm

Departmental Honors Advisor

Capstone Committee Member