Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Bridgett, David J.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Psychology; Families--Study and teaching; Developmental psychology


Previous research has shown that emotion regulation abilities play an integral role in psychological and social functioning, particularly in early childhood. Given its importance to development, researchers have investigated various factors that influence, both positively and negatively, the development of emotion regulation abilities themselves. Contextual stressors have been shown to independently negatively impact the development of many aspects of psychological functioning, including emotion regulation; however, little research thus far has investigated the cumulative contribution of multiple stressors occurring simultaneously. Positive parenting behaviors have been identified as potential moderators on the development of socioemotional and self-regulatory abilities, as low levels of such parenting behaviors are linked with greater deficits in self-regulatory behaviors while high levels of positive parenting behaviors have been shown to promote normal emotional development. However, these links between positive parenting and specific infant emotion regulation abilities have yet to be investigated. To address the gaps in the literature, the current study examined the direct relationships between contextual stress, positive parenting, and infant emotion regulation, while controlling for characteristic infant negative affect. Data was used from a larger longitudinal study involving mothers and their infants. Mothers completed questionnaires at 4 months post-partum and attended laboratory visits at 6 months and 8 months post-partum during which behavioral observation data was collected to measure positive parenting behaviors and infant emotion regulation, respectively. Results suggest that the contextual stress index utilized in the current study and positive parenting behaviors are not directly related to infant emotion regulation strategies measured at 8 months. Additionally, moderation effects were not supported based on the findings of this study. Implications of these findings and suggestions for future research are discussed.


Advisors: David J. Bridgett.||Committee members: Laura Pittman; Elizabeth Shelleby.||Includes bibliographical references.


133 pages




Northern Illinois University

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