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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Schudlich, Tina Dawn Du Rocher

Second Advisor

Lehman, Barbara J., 1943-

Third Advisor

Forgays, Deborah


Using a family systems perspective, this study investigated interparental conflict style, including destructive, depressive, and constructive conflict, as a mediator of the effects of parent depression symptoms on child emotion regulation. Self-reported depression symptoms and both self-reports and observations of interparental conflict style were collected from a community sample of 72 families when children were 6 -14 months old; observations of child emotion regulation behavior during a frustrating boring story task were collected from 33 of the original families when children were 3 - 4.5 years old. A methodological gap was addressed by examining links for both mothers and fathers. Path analysis results indicate that fathers' depression symptoms predict fathers' destructive, depressive, and constructive conflict behavior. Paternal depressive conflict was revealed as a significant mediator of the effects of paternal depression on child emotion regulation. Mothers' depression symptoms predicted maternal depressive conflict; however, maternal conflict behavior was not related to child emotion regulation outcomes. Overall, results support the unique effects of fathers on child emotional adjustment, particularly through indirect effects. Implications for family practitioners are discussed.




Western Washington University

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Academic theses




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