Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Cheryl McNeil

Committee Co-Chair

Amy Gentzler

Committee Member

Elisa Krackow

Committee Member

Carrie Rishel


Emotion regulation is an important developmental task during toddlerhood that is associated with positive psychosocial outcomes (Zeman et al., 2006). The development of adaptive emotion regulation during early childhood occurs largely within the context of a supportive caregiver-child relationship (Morris et al., 2007). Thus, parent-mediated interventions are a promising medium through which emotion regulation problems in toddlers can be treated. However, few interventions specifically designed to treat behavioral and emotion regulation difficulties are available for children in the toddler age range, and these interventions have yet to establish a solid evidence base supporting their efficacy. To fill this gap in the literature, the current study investigated the efficacy of two parenting interventions designed to improve emotion regulation in toddlers: Parent-Child Interaction Therapy-Toddler (PCIT-T; Girard et al., 2018) and Circle of Security-Parenting (COS-P; Cooper et al., 2009). Using a randomized controlled trial design, 76 parent-child dyads were randomly assigned to PCIT-T, COS-P, or waitlist control groups. Of the 76 dyads, 51 completed both Time 1 and Time 2 assessments. Observational coding and parent-report questionnaires were used to measure child and parent emotion regulation and related constructs at pre-treatment and post-treatment. Two-way mixed ANOVA were conducted to examine effects of group, time, and group-by-time interaction on parent and child emotion regulation. No significant interaction effects were found for any of the analyses. However, significant and large main effects of time were found for observed parent negative talk, observed maternal support-seeking, parent-reported child dysregulation, and parent-reported child externalizing behavior. Results are discussed in light of study limitations and future directions.