Parent-child predictors of social competence with peers in children with and without autism

Shantel E. Meek, Lauren T. Robinson, Laudan B. Jahromi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The current study investigated the relations among parent-child joint engagement, dyadic interactive behaviors, and children's subsequent social competence with peers. Participants were 40 children (20 children with autism, and 20 developmentally-matched typical children) between the ages of 2.75 and 6.5 years. Observational coding was conducted to assess children's joint engagement initiations, global interactive behaviors with parents, and parents' responsiveness, behavior regulation, and attention regulation. Children's social competence with peers was measured approximately one year later. Group differences were observed in child-initiated joint engagement, children's interactive behaviors in the parent-child context, and individual aspects of social competence. Child-initiated joint engagement with parents was positively related to social competence with peers overall, and with less exclusion by peers and hyperactive-distractible behaviors with peers, in particular. In addition, parent attention regulation emerged as the most salient predictor of children's behaviors within the parent-child context. Findings are discussed with respect to implications for future research and intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)815-823
Number of pages9
JournalResearch in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2012


  • Autism
  • Joint engagement
  • Parent-child interaction
  • Peer interaction
  • Social competence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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