Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 28, Issue 12, pp 3508–3518 | Cite as

Intergenerational Transmission of Emotion Dysregulation: The Role of Authoritarian Parenting Style and Family Chronic Stress

  • Zoey A. ShawEmail author
  • Lisa R. Starr
Original Paper



Although studies support a direct association between parent and child emotion regulation, little work has considered potential mechanisms, such as family context. For example, parents who have difficulty regulating their emotions may be more likely to adopt an authoritarian parenting style, especially under high family chronic stress, and this parenting style may then influence children’s development of emotion regulation. The current study examined authoritarian parenting style as a potential mechanism of the intergenerational transmission of emotion regulation. We also examined how maternal emotion regulation and family chronic stress interact to influence parenting behaviors.


A total of 218 mother-adolescent dyads (M age = 15.5 years, 55% female) were recruited from the community and assessed using a mix of self-report measures of emotion dysregulation and parenting style, and interview-based measures of family chronic stress.


Results showed maternal emotion dysregulation predicted authoritarian parenting style that, in turn, predicted adolescent emotion dysregulation, with a significant indirect effect. Family chronic stress strengthened the association between maternal emotion dysregulation and authoritarian parenting style, such that the indirect effect of maternal emotion regulation on adolescent emotion regulation via authoritarian parenting style was stronger at high levels of chronic stress.


Results suggest that authoritarian parenting style and family chronic stress serve as important factors in the intergenerational transmission of emotion regulation.


Emotion regulation Intergenerational transmission Authoritarian parenting style Family chronic stress Adolescents 


Author Contributions

Z.A.S.: designed and executed the study, analyzed the data, and wrote the paper. L.R.S.: project principal investigator, collaborated with the design and writing of the study, and editing of the final manuscript.


This study was funded by the University of Rochester.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in PsychologyUniversity of RochesterRochesterUSA

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