Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of Psychology


Clinical Psychology

Content Description

1 online resource (ii, 54 pages) : illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Betty Lin

Committee Members

Elana Gordis


Parenting, Stress, Temperament, Temperament in children, Stress (Psychology), Mother and child

Subject Categories

Clinical Psychology


Despite recognition that parents contribute to child development, much remains to be clarified about ways child characteristics shape parents’ behaviors. For example, temperamental characteristics such as negative affectivity elicit more parenting stress (Oddi, Murdock, Vadnais, Bridgett, & Gartstein, 2013) and less effective parenting behaviors (Laukkanen, Ojansuu, Tolvanen, Alatupa, & Aunola, 2014). On the other hand, children’s effortful control is known to reduce psychological risks associated with negative affectivity (Gartstein, Putnam, & Rothbart, 2012) yet no studies have investigated whether this may consequently reduce parenting stress. Furthermore, stressed parents are more likely to engage in harsh parenting strategies (Martorell & Bugental, 2006). Although it has largely been assumed that challenging temperament characteristics may evoke more negative parenting behaviors by increasing parent stress, relatively little is known about whether this is actually true. The current study examined whether child temperamental negativity is associated with parenting stress and positive parenting behaviors, and whether associations vary depending on children’s effortful control. Data were collected from a racially diverse, predominantly low SES sample, including 46 children (26 girls) ages 3.5 to 5 years and a parent (38 mothers, Mage = 31.71 years, SD = 7.83). Parents reported on child temperament and parenting related stress. Parent-child play interactions were recorded and coded for positive parenting behaviors. A moderated mediation model was run to test the effects of negative affectivity, effortful control, and their interactions on parent stress and subsequent parenting behaviors. Results indicated that negative affectivity was associated with more parenting stress and fewer positive parenting behaviors, but that effortful control did not moderate their associations. Future studies should consider longitudinal designs to further elucidate the influence of child temperament on parenting stress and behaviors.