Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects



Document Type



Previous research demonstrates parenting stress can affect mental health outcomes of children who are exposed to a traumatic event. Child adaptability can significantly affect how a child responds to traumatic events. Thus, it is important to identify factors associated with child adaptability, since such factors could serve as important targets in trauma treatment. Interventions (e.g., Parent-Child Interaction Therapy [PCIT]) have been created for families to learn skills to treat children with disruptive behavior problems. These behavior problems contribute to child maltreatment and trauma. The current study seeks to examine whether parenting stress predicts child adaptability and if this relationship is mediated by observed child prosocial talk as measured by the Dyadic Parent-Child Interaction Coding System (DPICS), an analog behavior observation used to assess parent and child behaviors during PCIT. Parent-child dyads (n = 53) completed a DPICS observation, the Parenting Stress Index (PSI), and the Behavior Assessment System for Children (BASC-2). Linear regression analyses revealed parenting stress predicted a significant amount of variance in child adaptability, t(1, 47)= -2.431, p < .019, but this relationship was not mediated by child prosocial talk, t(2,37)= .049, p < .961. Implications, limitations, and directions for future research are discussed.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Tim Thornberry, Ph.D.


Child Psychology | Developmental Psychology | Psychology | Social Work