An empirical study of communications in a mother-child context was conducted. Cognitive, emotional, and metacommunicational responses to “subtle inconsistencies” and consistencies in communication in this context were studied. Subtle inconsistency was found to be more stressful, complex, and evocative of responses showing a lack of metacommunication than consistency, by both clinical and non-clinical adolescents. Finer differences were also found between clinical and non-clinical adolescents' emotional and metacommunicational responses to subtle inconsistency. The findings provide empirical support for the double bind hypothesis.