Adolescent self-regulation follows a developmental trajectory over time with ups and downs during maturation. This paper uses growth curve analysis to look at change in self-regulation over time. Although self-regulation scores may increase during latency, adolescents differ in levels of self-regulation due to biological and socialization factors. In addition, exposure to couple conflict has been shown to affect levels of self-regulation. The current study examined the role of attachment to parents as a mediator between couple conflict and adolescent self-regulation outcomes, controlling for gender of child. Participants were 681 families with a child between the ages of 11 and 13 at time 1 (M age of child at time 1 = 11.33, S.D. = 1.02, 47.9% female) who took part in the Flourishing Families survey at times 1, 2, 3, & 4. Structural equation modeling confirmed that self-regulation was negatively related to couple conflict overall, although self-regulation in the group of adolescents experiencing the lowest level of conflict increased as couple conflict increased. Self-regulation was also positively related to attachment to father (but not to mother), while gender of adolescent was not significantly related to self-regulation or attachment. There was also evidence that father attachment partially mediated the relationship between couple conflict and adolescent self-regulation outcomes. The discussion focuses on the importance of continued research examining the mechanisms through which the father attachment bond influences the development of adolescent self-regulation.



College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Family Life; Marriage and Family Therapy



Date Submitted


Document Type





adolescent self-regulation, couple conflict, attachment to parents