Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


College of Education and International Services


Educational Psychology MA

First Advisor

Nadia Nosworthy

Second Advisor

Tevni Grajales



One's ability to regulate his/her emotions utilizing coping mechanisms and dissuasive mental strategies is partly attained due to the correct functioning of innate biological systems and to life experiences that promote learning/training in this area (cf., e.g., Matsumoto & Hwang, 2012). The field of emotion regulation studies has extensively elaborated on a multivalent description of human emotional development, in which emotions are part of essential mental strategies for an individual's conscious and unconscious goals in life (cf., e.g., Lang & Bradley, 2010; Levenson, 1999). Therefore, as a partly learned ability, one's emotion regulation skills have been shown as positively correlated to a person's caregivers' practices in early life (Saarni, 1999), such as parental emotional responsiveness and absence of emotional withdrawal as a punishment measure (Chang, Schwartz, Dodge, & McBride-Chang, 2003; Thompson, 2014). The parental practices comprising the different parenting styles have increasingly been shown as influencing the mental development of children into adulthood and can potentially be positively correlated with one's ability to regulate his/her emotions (Baumrind, 1996). Considering the relative lack of studies on such correlational dynamics in Brazil, especially among Seventh-day Adventists, the present study investigated the relationship between perceived emotion regulation and perceived maternal care and exigency in that group.


Due to the need for assessing the potential correlation between two specific observed variables, namely, maternal parenting style and emotion regulation, in a group of Seventh-day Adventists in Southern Brazil, the present study adopts a quantitative, non-experimental, correlational design. The reason is the need for adopting a research design that can identify or suggest whether maternal parenting (comprised of maternal responsiveness and maternal exigency) is correlated to levels of emotion self-regulation. The bivariate correlational study design is tailored to explore the specific correlational coefficients between the variables (McMillan & Schumacher, 2014). The approach is comprised of the systemic and rigorous collection of data for studying the targeted population sample in a nonintervention condition. Data collection is anonymous and includes the individuals' scores in two distinct instruments for measuring their self-perceived ideas about both observed variables. Perceived maternal parenting was measured by the Parental Bonding Instrument (PBI) and perceived emotion regulation was measured by the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS) questionnaire.


The demographic questionnaire showed the adequacy of the sample (N=207) to the originally proposed targeted population, being them all Seventh-day Adventist adults (18–34 years [57%]; 35–50 years [29%]; and above 50 years [13.5%]) currently residing in southern Brazil (Paraná [N=170]; Rio Grande do Sul [N=25]; and Santa Catarina [N=12]). The overall mean of the first observed variable (perceived levels of maternal responsiveness and exigency) was 70.72 (SD=14.76). As for the second observed variable (perceived levels of emotion regulation), the overall mean was 58.72 (SD= 16.14). A Cronbach's alpha test for internal consistency or reliability found ɑ > 0.9 for both PBI (ɑ=0.91) and DERS (ɑ=0.96) sets of answers, pointing to both tests' answer items as highly intercorrelated. Accordingly, a Pearson correlation coefficient (r) was calculated for measuring the linear correlation between the two observed variables. The achieved Pearson correlation coefficient (r=0.42) pointed to a positive linear correlation between the observed variables. Additionally, in the test, p, or the Sig. (2-tailed) index, was less than .001, thus further pointing to the rejection of the null hypothesis. Thus, as r = 0.42 (p < .001), the null hypothesis was confidently rejected, thus confirming this study's research hypothesis, enunciated as follows: "there is a significant correlation between perceived levels of maternal responsiveness and exigency and emotion regulation in a group of Seventh-day Adventists in Southern Brazil".


The confirmation of the research hypothesis points to the significance of the proposed correlation also among this study's targeted population sample, confirming academic studies suggesting the same dynamic among other population samples. The idea that a mother's role regarding her child is positively correlated to his/her enhanced emotion regulation skills later in life among Brazilian Seventh-day Adventists allows suggesting that psychological and pedagogical interventions that facilitate maternal practices and attitudes promoting authoritative parenting among that group are desirable. Such an emphasis, on par with other populations, has the potential for fostering healthier emotion regulation skills among future generations of Seventh-day Adventists in Brazil. This conclusion suggests some follow-up research lines that can potentially deepen the current knowledge about the proposed correlation among Seventh-day Adventists. Thus, a focus on how or whether the pedagogical practices adopted within Seventh-day Adventists' lifestyle and religiosity impact their outcome parenting could help in that regard.

Subject Area

Parenting--Brazil; Mother and child; Parents--Psychological aspects; Emotions; Seventh-day Adventists--Brazil