Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Cheryl B McNeil

Committee Co-Chair

Christina Duncan

Committee Member

Amy Gentzler


As evidence of the importance of emotion regulation (ER) continues to mount, little is known about how families dealing with child behavior problems can better develop this important ability. This study explored the relations among a caregiver training program for children with severe problem behaviors (i.e., Parent-Child Interaction Therapy; PCIT), child ER, caregiver ER, parent-ing stress, and attrition. This study was part of a larger investigation evaluating the impact of in-centives on treatment outcomes. Measures of caregiver and child ER, child behavior problems, and parenting stress were completed by caregivers referred for PCIT from a predominantly low-income community sample of 66 caregiver-child dyads. Caregiver-child interactions were coded for caregiver verbalizations during three play situations. ANCOVA, t-test, and logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine changes in ER across treatment and compare those who completed treatment with those who dropped out of treatment early. Results suggested that care-giver ER and child ER lability/negativity improved significantly across both phases of PCIT. Child adaptive ER improved significantly from pre- to post-treatment and during the PDI phase of treatment for those children in the non-incentives group only. Baseline levels of child and caregiver ER were not significant predictors of attrition; however, two models composed of base-line (e.g., caregiver-child interactions) and demographic variables significantly predicted attrition. The findings are discussed with respect to the importance of both caregiver and child ER in the provision of PCIT and other behavioral parent training programs.