Date of Degree

2007

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Psychology

Advisor

Peter Fraenkel

Committee Members

Paul Wachtel

Steve Tuber

Jackie Gotthold

Subject Categories

Psychology

Abstract

This study examined the hypothesis that temporal organization of family life is associated with children's affect regulation in first generation Dominican families. Eighteen families with children between ages one and half and five participated in this study, completing questionnaires about family time and routines, children's affect regulation, and child behavior problems. The families participated in interviews that inquired into family routines, family time and children's affect regulation according to the parent. Four of these families were selected for qualitative analysis of themes that illuminated the hypotheses tested. Correlational analysis confirmed the main hypothesis tested, namely, the existence of a relationship between family temporal organization and children's affect regulation. The results also showed general level of child problem behavior to be related to both temporal organization and to a measure that examined inappropriate regulation of emotion and emotional lability. This confirmed the hypothesis that temporal regulation at home may relate to a child's overall behavioral problems and that a child's ability to regulate emotions may be a factor in a child's general level of problem behavior. No relationship was found between family routines and a measure that assessed parenting behavior geared toward encouraging affect regulation by the child. Qualitative analysis proposed that child affect regulation may be linked to family temporal patterns that are both structured and flexible. The findings of this study suggest that the establishment of predictable day-to-day routines which allow space for some flexibility in the meaning of family time as a series of unpredictable instances to value togetherness, may be essential in supporting their own children's ability to regulate their emotional lives. Additionally, a parent's ability to focus on details of family schedules and child affective states may explain part of the connection between affect regulation and temporal organization. Clinical Implications of these findings are discussed.

Comments

Digital reproduction from the UMI microform.

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Psychology Commons

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