The purpose of this study was to examine how implicit family process rules are related to observed child emotional responsiveness with child self regulation as a possible mediating variable. Data from Wave 1 of the Flourishing Families project was used and included 337 two parent families and a target child between the ages of 10 and 13. Mother and father perception of family implicit rules were used to measure family implicit rules; child and mother report of the child's self regulation were used to measure self regulation, and child's emotional responsiveness to mother and father were taken from coding data. The Iowa Family Interaction Rating Scales (Melby, et. al., 1998) were used to code the behavior of the child with mother and with father. Multiple Group Comparison using AMOS 16 was used to compare differences based on child gender. Results showed that family implicit rules were positively related to emotional responsiveness to mother for both sons and daughters and to emotional responsiveness to father for sons but not for daughters. Family implicit rules were positively related to child self regulation for both sons and daughters, and self regulation was related to both emotional responsiveness to mother and to father. Results indicated child self regulation significantly mediated the relationship between family implicit rules and emotional responsiveness to mother as well as the relationship between implicit rules and emotional responsiveness to father. Implications for family therapy are discussed.



College and Department

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



Date Submitted


Document Type





Family implicit rules, self regulation, emotional responsiveness to parents