Date of Award

Summer 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)




Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology

Committee Director

Danielle H. Dallaire

Committee Member

Joseph Galano

Committee Member

Janice Zeman

Committee Member

Clifford Hatt

Committee Member

Kathrin Hartman


Exposure to risk in childhood can disrupt social and emotional processes (Leventhal & Brooks-Gunn, 2000) and lead to the development of physical and mental health issues across the lifespan (Flouri, 2008). This study sought to better understand the associations between contextual risk, parent socialization of emotion, and children's emotion regulation skills in an at-risk sample. Information about risk was obtained from U.S. Census data and a family questionnaire. Parent socialization strategies and children's ER skills were measured using self-report and interview methods. Though not to the degree that was expected, results indicate that contextual risk relates to both parent socialization strategies and children's ER skills. Higher levels of neighborhood risk were associated with less use of adaptive ER skills (e.g., Coping) in girls and less use of positive socialization strategies by parents (e.g. less Reward, more Override). Parental incarceration was associated with a number of negative socialization strategies used by parents for boys and girls. Parent socialization strategies of Reward were related to more Anger Inhibition, and Override strategies were related to more Anger Dysregulation. Interaction analyses indicated that risk moderated the relations between parent socialization strategies and ER. Relations differed in low and high risk contexts, with the impact of parent socialization strategies diminishing at higher levels of risk.


A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculties of The College of William and Mary, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk State University, Old Dominion University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology through the Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology.