Child Emotion Regulation and Attention Control in Pre-kindergarten: Associations with Parenting Stress, Parent Warm-sensitivity, and Parent Negative Control

Open Access
Mathis, Erin Theresa Barbato
Graduate Program:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
August 10, 2012
Committee Members:
  • Karen Linn Bierman, Thesis Advisor
  • Emotion Regulation
  • Attention Control
  • Self-Regulation
  • Parenting Stress
  • Parent Warm-Sensitivity
  • Parent Negative Control
The ability to regulate emotions and to control attention plays a central role promoting children’s school readiness. These two aspects of self-regulation demonstrate remarkable growth during the preschool years, and enhance children’s abilities to modulate their reactions and direct their attention, behavior, and emotion in goal-oriented ways. Parenting represents an important and understudied influence on the development of emotion regulation and attention control among preschool children. This study evaluates hypothesized associations between three aspects of parenting and child attention control and emotion regulation skills among pre-kindergarten children growing up in economically disadvantaged families. It focused on three aspects of parenting: 1) stress and distress in the parenting role, 2) the degree of warm-sensitivity evident in the parent-child relationship, and 3) parental negative control. Using multiple measures to assess aspects of each construct, structural equation modeling was used to assess the relationship between the three aspects of parenting and child emotion regulation as well as attention control. Parenting stress and parent negative control was found have a significant, unique relation with child emotion regulation. In addition, parent negative control was found to have a significant, unique relation with child attention control. Parent negative control was not found to mediate the relation between parenting stress and child emotion regulation. Implications for practice and policy are discussed.