Home chaos: sociodemographic, parenting, interactional, and child correlates

J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol. 2005 Mar;34(1):93-104. doi: 10.1207/s15374424jccp3401_9.


We conducted 2 studies to (a) establish the usefulness of the construct of home chaos, (b) investigate its correlates, and (c) determine the validity of the Confusion, Hubbub, and Order Scale (CHAOS) used to measure the construct in each study. Study 1 relied on a sample of European American preschoolers and their mothers and Study 2 on a sample of African American school-age children and their caregivers. Home chaos was associated with less effective parental discipline; elevated behavior problems, limited attentional focusing, and reduced ability to understand and respond to social cues in children; and reduced accuracy and efficiency in a cooperative parent-child interactional task, after controlling for potential confounds. It is concluded that (a) home chaos is not a proxy for adverse social or psychological circumstances but a useful construct in its own right; (b) home chaos is associated with multiple detrimental correlates in parents and children; and (c) the CHAOS scale provides an adequate and economical measure of home confusion and disorganization that should prove useful in clinical research with diverse populations.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans
  • Child
  • Child Behavior*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Conflict, Psychological*
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Parenting*
  • Social Class