Patterns of nonverbal parental communication: A social and situational contexts approach

Tsfira Grebelsky-Lichtman*, Eli Shenker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Nonverbal communication plays an important role in parent–child interactions; however, previous studies have focused on patterns of verbal parental communication. The current study expands the existing research to patterns of nonverbal parental communication. This study presents a social and situational contexts approach to explain various nonverbal parental communication styles. Parent–child interactions (n = 240) in structured joint-game sequences were filmed in families’ homes and analyzed using a mixed multivariant design. Confirmatory factor analysis produced a conceptualization of patterns of nonverbal parental communication: authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive. Multifaceted analyses revealed significant effects of a range of social and situational contexts. The findings delineated the contexts that activated diverse nonverbal parental communication styles. The proposed theoretical and analytical framework contributes to the research of parent–child interactions and establishes a social and situational approach for patterns of nonverbal parental communication.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)83-108
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author would like to give thanks for the financial support of Ono Research Institute (ORI) of Ono Academic College-Israel.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2017.


  • Communication
  • family communication
  • nonverbal behavior
  • nonverbal communication
  • parental patterns of communication
  • parent–child interaction


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