Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Counseling and Human Development

Degree Program

Counseling and Personnel Services, PhD

Committee Chair

Pössel, Patrick

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Markham, Eva

Committee Member

Markham, Eva

Committee Member

Mitchell, Amanda

Committee Member

Snyder, Kate

Author's Keywords

early adolescence; parenting behavior; social learning theory; positive and negative affect; internalizing problems; well-being


This study contributes to current literature by being the first to longitudinally examine the relation between early adolescents’ negative and positive affect and specific parenting behaviors. The five parenting behaviors examined in the current study are rooted within the social learning theory constructs of effective discipline (i.e., corporal punishment, inconsistent discipline), positive involvement (i.e., parental involvement), monitoring (i.e., poor monitoring and supervision), and social skills encouragement (i.e., positive parenting). Two research questions were addressed: (1) how are parenting behaviors at baseline associated with early adolescent-reported NA and PA at a later timepoint, and (2) how are early adolescents’ NA and PA at baseline associated with reports of parenting behaviors at a later timepoint? A representative sample of 331 early adolescents (M age at baseline = 12.62, SD = 0.99; 48.3% female; 76.1% European American, 11.2% African American, 1.8% Latina/o, 1.8% Asian/Pacific Islander, .9% Native American/Alaska Native, 7.9% other race/ethnicity) were recruited from public and private middle schools across urban and rural areas. Early adolescents completed the Positive and Negative Affect Scale for Children and the Alabama Parenting Questionnaire. After conducting seven multiple regressions, (a) PA and parental involvement were positively and bidirectionally related, (b) PA at baseline was positively and unidirectionally related with positive parenting at a later timepoint, (c) PA and adverse parenting behaviors (i.e., corporal punishment, inconsistent discipline, and poor monitoring and supervision) were not related, and (d) NA and parenting behaviors were not related. The findings were consistent with the claim that not all parent-child interactions are created equally. However, where previous literature found negative parent-child interactions (i.e., adverse parenting behavior in relation to externalizing behavior) to be particularly damaging, the current study found positive parent-child interactions (i.e., parental involvement and positive parenting in relation to PA) to be particularly helpful. Clinicians should intentionally promote parental involvement in parent-focused interventions while targeting an increase in positive affect in early adolescent-focused interventions like individual therapy.