Family Influences on Children’s Mental and Physical Health: Some Contributions of and Challenges to the Emotional Security Theory

  • Barbara A. MorrongielloEmail author
  • Michael Corbett
Part of the National Symposium on Family Issues book series (NSFI)


In their chapter, Family Discord and Child Health: An Emotional Security Formulation, Davies, Sturge-Apple, and Martin (Chap. 5) link children’s mental health outcomes to emotional and communication patterns expressed between parents. In this chapter, we discuss, from a clinical/interventionist perspective, several unique contributions made by emotion security theory that help to explain the impact family discord has on children’s mental health. We then place this theory within a broader context of research on child health outcomes and discuss some challenges for this theory by exploring the role of compensatory parent influences, differential susceptibility to risk exposure in children, socioemotional development, bidirectional parent–child influences, and extrafamilial influences on children’s mental health. In discussing these challenges, we consider findings from research on factors that influence unintentional childhood injury risk.


Emotion Regulation Anxious Child Injury Risk Parent Relationship Interparent Conflict 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada

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