Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Susan Benner


Past research on atypical behavior in young children has primarily forused on the caregiver and/or child, isolating characteristics such as the caregiver's parenting or the child's temperament (Deater-Deckard & O'Connor, 2000; Thomas & Clark, 1998). Current research has moved toward trying to build a more comprehensive and in-depth understanding of caregiver-child relationships (Bugental, 2000). One way of trying to understand caregiver-child relationships is to look at perceptions the caregiver has of the relationship (Stem & Smith, 1999). Caregiver perceptions include conscious reflections, what the caregiver knows and thinks about, and what the caregiver chooses to talk about (Bugental, 2000). Differences in family relationships, values and rules, history, the environment, practices of society, and cultural norms must also be considered (Grotevant, 1997; Hinde, 1991; Kitayama & Markus, 2000). The complexity of these many influential factors suggests the need to study caregiver relationships with their child in more detail (Baldwin, 1992; Berlin & Cassidy, 1999; Crittenden, 1988). This qualitative study involves the exploration of caregivers' perceptions about their relationships with their children whom have been identified as having atypical behavior, taking into consideration the caregivers' perceptions of the many contextual factors that influence the relationship across time.

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."