Affective style (AS) and communication deviance (CD) have been suggested as markers of dysfunctional family environments that may be associated with psychiatric illness. Studies have focused mainly on parental responses during family interactions when an offspring is the identified patient. The present study is unique in examining AS and CD in mothers with unipolar depression, bipolar disorder, or chronic physical illness, and in normal controls. The sample consisted of 64 mothers with children ages 8 to 16. Unipolar mothers were more likely to show negative AS than were any other maternal group. There were no group differences for CD. Chronic stress, few positive life events, and single parenting were associated with AS. CD was associated solely with lower socioeconomic status. Results suggest that dysfunctional interactions are determined not only by maternal psychopathology, but also by an array of contextual factors that are related to the quality of the family environment.
Hamilton, Elizabeth Burney; Jones, Maren; and Hammen, Constance, "Maternal Interaction Style in Affective Disordered, Physically Ill, and Normal Women" (1993). Faculty Publications - Grad School of Clinical Psychology. 240.