Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Family Functioning, Family Factors, Emotional Regulation, Latent Profile Analysis

Major Advisor

JoAnn L. Robinson, PhD

Associate Advisor

Ronald M. Sabatelli, PhD

Associate Advisor

Kari L. Adamsons, PhD

Associate Advisor

D. Betsy McCoach, PhD

Field of Study

Human Development and Family Studies


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Young children develop emotional regulation within the family context, and they learn how to appropriately and effectively regulate their emotional responses, in part, through their family interaction. Researchers have emphasized that the patterns of family functioning should be examined in relationship to children’s adjustment. Person-centered approaches attempt to capture the patterns of relationship quality across family systems and the richness of the qualitative descriptions. This study specifically examined the importance of particular patterns of family functioning using a person-centered approach — latent profile analysis approach (LPA) — for children’s emerging emotional regulation in early childhood, as well as the interplay of family factors that contribute to functioning within family systems in a sample of 290 children and their parents. This study is designed to investigate: (1) the pattern of family interaction quality; (2) the pattern of family emotional climate reflected by family-related factors; (3) the association between the patterns of family emotional climate and children’s emotional regulations as outcomes; and (4) the profile changes that emerged between family interaction and family emotional climate. First, family interaction was observed at dinnertime and coded live based on 15 dimensions, reduced to three: family harmony, control, and conflict. At the onset, I identified three patterns of family interaction: (a) cohesive; (b) disengaged; and (c) hostile. The second analysis indicated four types of family emotional climate as follows: (a) harmonious; (b) control-oriented; (c) preoccupied with conflict; and (d) distressed. I found that the profile groups across the steps did not appear equivalent. Concerning the children’s emotional regulation associated with the types of family emotional climate, children in harmonious families exhibited a higher level of narrative coherence than those in control-oriented families. Additionally, children in harmonious families less frequently displayed dysregulated aggression than those in control-oriented and preoccupied with conflict families. Unexpectedly, distressed families did not show any significant results in children’s emotional regulation. In general, these findings underscore that children in harmonious families demonstrate emotional regulation that may be associated with children’s adjustment not only within the family context but also in schools and community. These results support the practice of assessing and intervening to promote harmonious family functioning defined by multiple factors, eventually encouraging children’s emotional regulation.