Year of Publication

2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Peggy Keller

Abstract

Over the last decade, the topic of sleep has garnered a great deal of interest from psychologists, due to the physiological, emotional, and behavioral outcomes associated with its deprivation. However, questions remain to be answered regarding sleep's influence in the day-to-day life of families. The current study examines the importance of sleep deprivation for parents’ parenting behaviors during problem solving discussions with their children; emotion regulation and stress reactivity are examined as mediators of these associations. Participants were 196 families with a child between the ages of 6-11. Parents filled out diaries for 7 days prior to their in-lab visit, reporting on their sleep quality and quantity. During the lab visit, parents participated individually in a 5-minute problem-solving task with their child. Parent respiratory sinus arrhythmia was attained throughout the interaction task and videos were recorded for later coding. Following the interaction, parents reported on their experiences of emotion during the task. Results supported the author’s hypothesis regarding the importance of parent emotional experience for parent changes in behavior. Stress reactivity and parent sleep, however, did not reveal significant associations to parenting practices. Limitations and future directions are discussed.

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