Paper Type

Master's Thesis


College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Arts in General Psychology (MAGP)



First Advisor

Dr. Gabriel Ybarra

Second Advisor

Dr. Lori Lange


Child abuse studies have measured physiological reactivity of parents in response to several child- and nonchild-related stimuli. Abusive parents have responded to aversive stimuli, including that which is child-related, with atypical physiological reactivity, suggesting a trait of hyperreactivity. The current study tested the hypothesis that variation in observed parenting behaviors is associated with physiological reactivity to childrelated stimuli. To explore this association, researchers measured fathers' skin conductance level, heart rate and respiration rate in reaction to video segments of a quiet, crying and happy infant, then scored observed father-child interactions for the use of parenting warmth and control across four interaction tasks. Additionally, hypotheses concerning the influence of parenting stress and reported child temperament on the observed fathering behaviors were explored.

Included in

Psychology Commons