Date of Award

Fall 12-1-2015

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Sara Jordan

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Tammy Barry

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

Bonnie Nicholson

Committee Member 3 Department



Studies clearly indicate that parenting practices relate to child externalizing behaviors, although the mechanisms underlying this relation are less well understood. Researchers suggest that daily routines are one way through which parenting practices relate to externalizing behaviors, allowing children to regulate their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors accordingly, potentially promoting development of appropriate self-regulatory behaviors. Self-regulation is also a possible route through which child routines inversely relate to externalizing behaviors. These relationships have been tested in school-age and older children, yet self-regulatory abilities are known to develop during the preschool period. This study examined child routines and self-regulation as serial mediators of the relations between positive and negative parenting practices (separately) and child externalizing problems among preschool children. Participants included 166 maternal caregivers of preschool children who completed a self-report measure of their parenting practices and parent-report measures of their child’s daily routines, self-regulation, and externalizing behaviors. Results demonstrated that both child routines and self-regulation are significant mechanisms through which negative and positive parenting practices relate to externalizing problems in preschoolers, although the temporal sequencing is only upheld in respect to negative parenting. These findings suggest that child routines play a critical role in the development of self-regulation among preschool children, which, in turn, are inversely associated with externalizing behaviors.