Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Psychological and Brain Sciences

Committee Chair

Burns, Barbara M.

Author's Keywords

Social-emotional behaviors; Social-emotional problems; Social-emotional competence; African-American toddlers; Maternal depression; African-American parenting strategies


African American children--Psychology; African American families; Developmental psychology--Social aspects; Parenting--Psychological aspects


The role of risk and protective factors in the family system on toddlers' social-emotional outcomes was examined by exploring the impact of depression and parenting strategies reported by female primary caregivers on toddlers' social-emotional competence and social-emotional problem behaviors. The goal of the research was to extend knowledge concerning how these risk and protective factors relate to social-emotional outcomes in an urban community sample of African-American families. Participants included 103 African-American women and toddlers. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses examined social-emotional problems and social-emotional competence. Results showed that female primary caregivers' depression and annual income were found to significantly predict ratings of toddlers' social-emotional problems. Results from the analysis of social-emotional competence revealed a different pattern. Parenting strategies measured in terms of family routines and gender of the toddlers significantly predicted ratings of social-emotional competence. The current findings that different profiles predicted different aspects of toddlers' social-emotional behaviors suggest that different family processes underlie toddlers' developing social-emotional competence and social-emotional problems. These findings have implications for culturally-sensitive interventions tailored to support social-emotional competence and decrease social-emotional problems in toddlers from African-American families.