Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Bridgett, David J.

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Though emotion regulation has been heavily studied for the last several decades, much of the research to this point has neglected to examine the development of specific strategies across time, particularly across infancy and toddlerhood when such behaviors are first emerging and increasing in complexity. Previous work has shown these early emotion regulation abilities to be easily influenced by external factors and, given young children’s heavy reliance on caregivers during this period of time, parenting is often studied as one such factor. Though positive parenting has been consistently shown to promote normal development, overcontrolling parenting has been less readily studied as a construct and, in particular, in relation to emotion regulation development in children. To address these limitations in the current literature, the current study investigated the stability of three emotion regulation behaviors across three time points (12, 18, and 24 months) and of overcontrolling parenting behaviors across two time points (18 and 24 months), and the bidirectional influence of child emotion regulation on overcontrolling parenting, and vice versa, in the second year of life. Data from a larger longitudinal study involving mother-child dyads was utilized. As part of the longitudinal study, mothers completed questionnaire measures at 4 months post-partum, and attended laboratory visits with their infants at 12, 18, and 24 months of age where they participated in structured tasks designed to elicit emotional responses. Data from these laboratory visits was coded for child emotion regulation strategy use and maternal use of overcontrolling parenting. Results demonstrated no significant rank order stability between gaze aversion, self-soothing, and self-distraction across time points. Similarly, no significant relationships emerged between gaze aversion or self-distraction and overcontrolling parenting concurrently or over time. Early self-soothing in infancy negatively predicted later maternal use of overcontrolling parenting, but only at 24 months. The implications of these findings, and key directions for future work, are discussed.


162 pages




Northern Illinois University

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