Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 48, Issue 6, pp 1116–1130 | Cite as

Emotional Coregulation in Mexican-Origin Parent–Adolescent Dyads: Associations with Adolescent Mental Health

  • Evelyn MercadoEmail author
  • Joanna Kim
  • Nancy A. Gonzales
  • Andrew J. Fuligni
Empirical Research


Research on the health benefits and consequences of close relationships has suggested the linkage in daily emotions (i.e., coregulation) between close partners is an important relationship dynamic. While the coupling of daily emotions among family members (parent–child and marital dyads) has been widely documented, research examining emotional coregulation among ethnic minority youth during adolescence, a period marked by heightened emotion and risk for psychopathology, remains an important area in need of exploration. This study examined correlates of emotional coregulation in a sample of Mexican-origin adolescents (Mage = 15.02, SD = .83) and their parents (Mage = 41.93, SD = 6.70). Dyads reported on daily levels of distress and happiness for 14 consecutive days across two waves of data collection a year apart (nwave1 = 428 dyads, nwave2 = 336 dyads). Dyads who reported getting along were more likely to coregulate their daily happiness. Importantly, coregulation of distress was only present in older adolescents who reported above average levels of internalizing symptoms. The results suggest coregulation of distress may shape or be shaped by poor mental health during the later years of adolescence, a time when youth may be establishing a degree of emotional autonomy from parents.


Emotional coregulation Synchrony Parent–adolescent relationship Internalizing symptoms 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the participating families without whom this project would not have been possible, Thomas Weisner for his contributions to the project, and Andy Lin for his consultation.

Authors’ Contributions

E.M. conceived of the research goals, performed the statistical analysis and interpretation of the data, and had primary responsibility for writing the manuscript. J.K. participated in data preparation and helped write and revise the manuscript. N.A.G. conceived of the study, participated in its design and coordination, and helped revise the manuscript. A.J.F. conceived of the study, and participated in its design and coordination, interpretation of the data, and helped draft the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript


Support for this research was provided by NIH (R01-HD057164) and the California Center for Population Research at UCLA (P2C-HD041022).

Data Sharing and Declaration

The data analyzed during the current study are not publicly available but are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of intererst.

Ethical Approval

The research presented received clearance from the Institutional Review Board at the University of California, Los Angeles. 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.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychological and Brain SciencesUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  4. 4.Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  5. 5.Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human BehaviorUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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