Date of Award

12-17-2004

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Degree Program

Psychology

Department

Psychology

Major Professor

Morris, Amanda

Second Advisor

Weems, Carl

Third Advisor

Lewis, Marva

Fourth Advisor

Frick, Paul

Fifth Advisor

Silverthorn, Persephanie

Abstract

Parent education programs were introduced nearly 30 years ago with a primary focus on teaching parents strategies to identify and reduce incidences of noncompliance in their children, and have been the single most successful treatment approach for reducing problem behavior. However, few parent education programs address emotion regulation and its role in children's development despite the fact that research has consistently demonstrated that children who are unable to successfully regulate emotions are more likely to develop behavioral problems. Specifically, most programs fail to address the concepts of effortful control and negative affectivity, two important components of child temperament, and their effects on children's behavior. Research has suggested that children who are emotionally regulated develop greater social competence, resulting in better, more positive, relationships. Thus, parents who teach their children to express and regulate their emotions in socially appropriate ways promote the development of prosocial behaviors in their children. In response, the goal of this study was to examine whether adding an emotion component aimed at teaching parents successful strategies for socializing children's emotions would affect overall parenting and children's emotion regulation above and beyond a traditional behavioral model. Twenty-five parents participated in a three-week parent education program. Parents learned strategies for managing their children's misbehavior. Moreover, parents learned about temperament, how these dispositional traits affect children's behavior, and successful strategies for aiding children in emotion management. At each session, parents completed measures designed to assess their children's temperament and behavior. Additionally, parents completed measures regarding their parenting practices and styles as well as feelings of parental efficacy. Repeated measures ANOVAs were run to determine whether changes in children's temperament or parenting emerged over time. Hierarchical multiple regressions were also computed to determine the effects of parents' practices, styles and efficacy on change in children's levels of effortful control and negative affectivity. Results suggest that parents' choice of disciplinary strategies affects children's ability to regulate their emotions, and that participation in the emotion module positively affected overall parenting and children's emotion regulation.

Rights

The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.

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