Date of Degree

9-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Psychology

Advisor

Margaret Rosario

Subject Categories

Psychology

Keywords

Dissociation; Emotion regulation

Abstract

The present study examined the relationships between maternal dissociation, mothers' self-described parenting behaviors in child emotion regulation, and the emotion regulatory capacity of their children. These relationships were investigated in a sample of predominately low-income African-American and Latino mothers and children residing in a domestic violence shelter. In this study, I investigated a mediational model relating maternal dissociation, mother's acceptance of child emotions, and child difficulties in emotion regulation and behavior. I predicted that mothers who reported more dissociative experiences would demonstrate less awareness and acceptance of emotions when they responded to children's sadness, fear, happiness, and anger. I also predicted that the children of those mothers with more dissociation would experience more difficulties with emotion regulation and behavior problems. Finally, I predicted that mothers who demonstrated more emotional acceptance would have children with fewer emotional and behavioral problems, and that emotional acceptance would mediate the relationship between maternal dissociation and child emotional and behavioral problems.

Results provided support for two of the three relationships present in the model, but not for the mediational model as a whole. Mothers who reported more dissociation demonstrated less acceptance of their children's emotions. Mothers with more dissociation also reported more intervention when their children were upset or disruptive, an indicator of child emotion regulation difficulties. However, no relationship was found between maternal emotional acceptance and child emotion regulation. The relationships identified between study variables added to the small but growing literature on dissociation and parenting. The finding suggests that, through direct and indirect effects on child emotion regulation, maternal dissociation may be implicated in the intergenerational transmission of the effects of trauma.

Included in

Psychology Commons

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