Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2022

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

School

Psychology

Committee Chair

Bonnie Nicholson, PhD

Committee Chair School

Psychology

Committee Member 2

Emily Yowell, PhD

Committee Member 2 School

Psychology

Committee Member 3

Eric Dahlen, PhD

Committee Member 3 School

Psychology

Abstract

Having a supportive and secure relationship with parents can predict less emotional distress in college students. In addition to parental support, many families leverage fictive kin caregivers to provide support. This is especially true in communities of racial and ethnic minorities. The present study investigated the association between fictive kin care, parental relationships, and emotional distress in college students. One hundred fourteen (N = 114) college students completed measures that assessed parental and fictive-kin relationships, social support, and emotional distress. A COVID-19 pandemic-related distress measure was also administered. Three hypotheses were tested. First, it was hypothesized that fictive kin care and parental attachment were inversely associated with emotional distress and positively associated with social support. Second, it was hypothesized that parental attachment moderates the relationship between fictive kin care and emotional distress, especially in situations of low parental attachment. Lastly, it was hypothesized that parental attachment would moderate the relationship between fictive kin care and social support. Multiple regression analyses were used to examine the relationships between fictive kin care, parental attachment, social support, and emotional distress. Data analysis did not support the stated hypotheses. However, more secure parental attachment and fictive kin care were associated with more perceived social support. More secure parental attachment was also inversely correlated with emotional distress, and women reported more emotional distress than men. Supplemental analyses were conducted and found significant relationships between respondent race and subscales of social support, as well as the length of the fictive kin relationship and emotional distress.

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Psychology Commons

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