Parent emotional functioning, parent responsiveness, and child adjustment

Melody Whiddon, Florida International University


Over the past two decades, interest in the psychological development of children has steadily increased (Beg, Casey, & Saunders, 2007), presumably because statistics describing childhood psychological illness are alarming. Certain parent interaction styles or behaviors are known to influence child adjustment. According to attachment theory, the reason for these findings is that interaction with a caregiver informs an individual’s construction of an internal working model (IWM) of the self in relation to others in the environment. The purpose of this study was to gain a greater understanding of the factors contributing to child adjustment by examining the influence of parents’ emotional functioning and parent responsiveness to children’s bids for interaction. This dissertation tested a multivariate model of attachment-related processes and outcomes with an ethnically diverse sample. Results partially supported the model, in that parent emotional intelligence predicted some aspects of child adjustment. Overall, the study adds to knowledge about how parent characteristics influence child adjustment and provides support for conceptualizing emotional intelligence as a concrete and observable manifestation of the nonconscious attachment IWM.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology|Clinical psychology|Personality psychology|Individual & family studies

Recommended Citation

Whiddon, Melody, "Parent emotional functioning, parent responsiveness, and child adjustment" (2009). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3380843.