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Arch Psychiatr Nurs. 2012 Jun;26(3):e23-30. doi: 10.1016/j.apnu.2011.12.008. Epub 2012 Mar 14.

Like parent, like child: parent and child emotion dysregulation.

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  • 1Department of Psychology and Human Development, California State University, San Bernardino, CA, USA.



This study examined the association between children's emotion regulatory processes and parents' emotional problems.


A 5-year longitudinal study of families from Northwestern United States with data collected over 3 time points. Families were recruited in an effort to oversample for multiracial and African American families because these families have historically not been well represented in research studies.


Parental hostility characteristics and subclinical levels of depression were assessed in combination with teachers' reports of children's externalizing and internalizing behaviors. Ninety-one families with married parents and an elementary school-aged child participated in the study.


There was a significant main effect for the association between fathers' self-reports of hostility and teacher reports of children's externalizing behaviors. Neither parental hostility nor depressive symptoms were significantly associated with the children's internalizing behaviors.


The results suggest that children's externalizing behaviors are associated with their fathers' dysregulated expression of hostility.


Parent-child interactions are a key component of children's emotion regulation development. Our findings may guide health care professionals in identifying and intervening in parental behaviors, particularly fathers' behaviors, that may adversely affect the healthy emotional development of their children.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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