Occupational therapy has focused on activity as a catalyst for understanding human roles and interactions, regardless of whether disability or chronic illness is present. Parenting is an important interactional activity accompanied by specific role expectations. This investigation examined the interaction patterns of mothers with multiple sclerosis and their daughters. Thirty-one mothers with multiple sclerosis and their daughters aged 8 to 12 years were compared with 34 mothers without disabilities and their daughters aged 8 to 12 years. Videotaped mother–daughter interactions during a work task and a play task were scored by two raters for 11 different behaviors. These behaviors were collapsed into three behavioral composites–receptiveness, directiveness, and dissuasiveness–for statistical analysis. Statistical analysis revealed no significant differences between the two groups on the behavioral composites for either mothers or their daughters. The two tasks stimulated a different pattern of mother–daughter interactions. For both members of the dyad, interactions during the work task were more directive and less dissuasive than those in the play task. The clinical implication of this finding indicates the importance of understanding the influence of the task selected when observing interaction. Because of recent social and legal changes, understanding parenting and chronic illness is critical.

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