Date of Graduation
Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
Cheryl B. McNeil
In recent years, emotion regulation has become a topic of particular interest to both clinicians and researchers and has been shown to play a significant role in a variety of behavioral and psychological difficulties in both adults and children (Gratz & Tull, in press). However, parents of children referred for parent training may experience significant difficulty regulating their emotions as they attempt to cope with and control their children's misbehavior. The present study explored the role of caregiver emotion regulation in parent training by attempting to understand if (1) parents and children who are referred for parent training have difficulty with emotion regulation, and (2) recognize the degree to which these difficulties correlate with levels of negative interactions, parental stress, children's behavior problems and children's emotion regulation at the beginning of treatment. Parents of children referred for parent training completed self-report measures of caregiver and child emotion regulation, child behavior problems and parenting stress. Caregiver-child interactions were assessed in three structured play situations in which the frequency of caregiver negative speech and child compliance were coded. Two one sample t-tests followed by a series of bivariate analyses and two multiple regressions were conducted. The current sample of caregivers was not found to be more emotionally dysregulated than a non-referred sample of adults. However, the current sample of children was found to display more negative emotions, possess greater emotional lability (t(31) = 6.562, p = .104) and demonstrate less emotion regulation (t(31) = -3.684, p = .001) as compared to a typical sample of children. Caregiver emotion dysregulation was not found to significantly correlate with caregiver negative talk across all three DPICS situations. However, caregiver emotion dysregulation was found to be positively and significantly correlated with caregiver overall stress (r = .654, p = .000), and total child disruptive behavior problems (r = .512, p = .003). Caregiver emotion dysregulation was not significantly correlated with the frequency of caregiver negative speech or behavioral observations of child compliance. Caregiver emotion dysregulation was not significantly correlated with child emotion regulation. In two multiple regression analyses, parental distress emerged as the only significant predictor of caregiver emotion regulation, while two separate measures of child behavior problems emerged as the only significant predictor of child emotion regulation. Limitations, and suggestions for future research are discussed.
Wallace, Nancy M., "The Evaluation of Emotion Regulation in Caregivers Referred to a Parent-Training Program" (2014). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 248.