Effective parenting is a critical contributor to child development, and it depends in part on parents? own ability to manage competing priorities, responding to their own goals and emotions while meeting their child?s needs. Negotiating this balance requires effective emotion regulation (ER), a transdiagnostic factor that predicts a host of mental health and social domains of functioning for adults, including parenting. Parental ER difficulties undermine effective discipline and emotionally responsive interactions with children, and subsequently predict children?s own emotion dysregulation and related developmental outcomes. Accordingly, parenting interventions are increasingly targeting parent ER as a mechanism to improve treatment outcomes, but these efforts require valid and specific measurement of ER in the parenting context. Presently, the measurement of ER among parents is limited to general adult self-report measures that do not have specific applicability to ER demands in the parenting context. The goal of this project is to refine and validate a novel, brief self-report measure of parent ER, the Regulating Emotions in Parenting Scale (REPS). This proposed project innovates the measurement of parental ER by focusing specifically on situations in which parents regulate their emotions during interactions with their children. Building on promising preliminary data, we will first employ focus interviews to refine item content, then collect data from a diverse national sample (N = 1500) of parents with children ages 6 to 16.
Aim 1 is to establish REPS factor structure and measurement invariance by race/ethnicity and gender.
Aim 2 will establish construct validity by testing correlations with related constructs. We will then explore an extension of the REPS to include both self and co-parent reports in a dyadic sample comprising marital/partnered and intergenerational co-parents. We will use this data to explore partner-report methods, in comparison to self- reports, as predictors of parenting behavior and other outcomes, such as co-parenting alliance. This R21 will contribute to both developmental and intervention research by creating a psychometrically robust measure of parent ER, which is an important predictor of parenting behavior and child outcomes that can exacerbate or buffer risk for maladaptation. In addition to developmental research, we anticipate that this measure can also be used for clinical screening and treatment outcome measurement in intervention and prevention efforts targeting parents and children. This proposed project is consistent with the R21 mechanism, by developing a novel measure and methodology that could have a major impact on parenting research and ultimately support the health and well-being of children.

Public Health Relevance

This project will evaluate the psychometric properties of a new measure, the Regulating Emotions in Parenting Scale (REPS) using a large national sample. This measure will address the growing need to assess parent emotion regulation as an important predictor of parenting behavior and child outcomes. We will also use item- response theory to establish the REPS as free of measurement bias by parent race/ethnicity and gender to enhance its utility as a tool for both developmental and intervention research.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
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Psychosocial Development, Risk and Prevention Study Section (PDRP)
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Esposito, Layla E
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University of Georgia
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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