Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 27, Issue 11, pp 3658–3671 | Cite as

Parent Emotional Well-being and Emotion Lability in Young Children

  • Nicole Oattes
  • Stacey Kosmerly
  • Maria RogersEmail author
Original Paper


Emotion lability and emotion regulation are critical processes that have been shown to have important contributions in the successful development of children. While these two emotion processes are intertwined, they have been distinctly associated with a diverse range of behavioural, academic, and social outcomes. Given the important implications of these emotional processes, it is essential to understand the factors that influence the development of emotion lability and emotion regulation. The present study aimed to contribute to the current research pertaining to parents’ role in the emotional development of children through examination of maternal and paternal psychological functioning and emotion regulation as potential predictors of child emotion lability and emotion regulation. Participants included ninety-three preschool children and their parent(s). Parents completed self-report measures regarding their own emotion regulation and psychological functioning, as well as their child’s emotion regulation and emotion lability. Correlational analyses revealed that although, in general, maternal and paternal emotion regulation and psychological functioning were not significantly associated with child emotion regulation, significant associations were evident in the relationship between numerous parent variables and children’s emotion lability. Interestingly, both parent and child gender differences were evident in these relationships. Multiple regression analyses indicated that mothers’ overall emotional well-being predicted children’s emotion lability for both boys and girls, however, these same models were not significant for fathers’ emotional well-being. The importance of emotion lability as it relates to fostering positive emotional development in early childhood is highlighted, and implications for future research on emotion regulation is discussed.


Emotion lability Emotion regulation Psychological functioning Preschool Gender 


Author Contributions

N.O. assisted with data collection, conducted the data analyses, and wrote the manuscript; S.K. collaborated on study design, data collection, analysis, and editing of the writing; M.R. designed and supervised the study and collaborated in the editing of the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This study’s procedures were conducted in compliance with the University of Ottawa’s Research Ethics Board and the Canadian Psychological Association’s Ethical Guidelines.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all participants in this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyTrent UniversityPeterboroughCanada
  2. 2.School of PsychologyUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada

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