Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

MA in Clinical Psychology



First Advisor

Tamara Del Vecchio

Second Advisor

William Chaplin


Evidence suggests that mothers’ emotion control difficulties are associated with their self-reported and observed overreactive parenting. Specifically, mothers who have difficulties managing their negative emotions and experience more anger, are more likely to discipline harshly. In addition to this emotional process, evidence suggests that poorer cognitive executive function (EF) is also associated with mothers’ use of overreactive discipline. However, the association between EF performance and overreactive parenting is inconsistent. The purpose of this study is to assess how different EFs may moderate the association between emotion control and overreactive parenting. I hypothesized that (1) mothers’ emotion control would be negatively related to levels of overreactive parenting and (2) this relationship would be moderated by mothers’ EF abilities Specifically, I am predicting that poor executive functioning would exacerbate the impact of poor emotional control on over-reactive parenting. This socio-economically diverse sample included 57 mothers (M = 35.2 years old) of 2- to 5-year-old children. Mothers completed questionnaires and three laboratory assessments of executive function tasks. Consistent with the proposed hypothesis, mothers’ emotion control was negatively associated with levels of overreactive parenting. Contrary to our hypothesis, there was no significant moderating effect of mothers’ EF performance or their self-report of EF on this relation. However maternal EF was independently associated with overreactive parenting. The findings from this study add to the growing body of research that concerns the role of EF performance in parenting.