Previous work on the contribution of family environments to adolescent emotion dysregulation has tended to focus on broad parenting characteristics (such as warmth); however, it is possible that day-to-day variability in parenting may also relate to emotion dysregulation. The current study sought to test whether inconsistency in the quality of daily parent-youth interactions related to multiple indices of emotion dysregulation in adolescents. Two-hundred-twenty-two adolescents (ages 13–16; 53% female) participated with one parent. Adolescents completed 14-days of diary reporting on the quality of interactions with their parent (negative/neutral/positive) and their emotion dysregulation experiences for each day. Analyses reveal that, beyond the effects of average interaction quality, adolescents with greater variability in the quality of their interactions with their parent reported greater average emotion dysregulation across the days of diary recording and demonstrated greater variability in their ratings of daily emotion dysregulation. Findings were not accounted for by parental warmth or hostility, parent-reported trait-level emotion regulation, or day-level associations between study variables. In these ways, greater variability–and not merely greater negativity–during interactions between parents and adolescents was related to adolescent emotion dysregulation, suggesting that consistency in parent–adolescent relationships may be an important dimension of psychosocial risk to consider within families.
- emotion dysregulation
- parent-adolescent interactions
- relationship quality
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)