Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Psychology


Clinical Psychology

Content Description

1 online resource (x, 107 pages) : illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Allen C. Israel

Committee Members

Leslie F. Halpern, Elana B. Gordis


Child Adjustment, Child Temperament, Family Stability, Child psychology, Child development, Families

Subject Categories

Clinical Psychology


Empirical literature has demonstrated a relationship between the constructs of family stability and child adjustment, as well as between child temperament and adjustment. The mechanisms through which these constructs relate to one another, however, have not been directly explored. The current study evaluates one proposed model in which family stability is hypothesized to moderate the relationship between child temperament and child adjustment, such that the relationship between child temperament and child adjustment would vary depending upon the level of molecular family stability present. Participants were 125 parents and 69 teachers of five-year-old children in kindergarten. Parents were asked to complete measures of family stability, child temperament, and child adjustment, and teachers were asked only for reports of child adjustment. Multiple regression analyses were used to evaluate the hypothesized moderation model. While the results did not support the hypothesized moderation model, several findings were worth noting. Although greater levels of the child temperament qualities of both self regulation and inhibition were related to lower levels of both parent- and teacher-reported child externalizing behavior problems as hypothesized, the predicted relationships between both child temperament qualities with child internalizing behavior problems were not found. In addition, the predicted relationship between family stability and child adjustment was not found. Possible explanations for the non-significant findings are discussed, including conceptual issues related to the age of the child participants and several methodological concerns regarding the reporting of child adjustment, sample size, and data analytic strategy. Results are also discussed in terms of avenues for further research and potential clinical applications of the findings regarding molecular family stability.