Putting parenting in perspective: An investigation of parental and contextual factors that shape parenting behaviors

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Theses


Parenting behaviors are determined by multiple parental and contextual factors. Yet despite an understanding of the independent processes that result in negative parenting, how these factors operate together in shaping parenting behaviors remains relatively unclear. From a process-oriented perspective of parenting, the study tested how household chaos operated as a mediating mechanism underlying the relationship between parental impulsivity and limit setting behaviors. Guided by the dual-system model of parenting, this study further examined how parental impulsivity and perspective taking interactively influence parent limit setting behaviors. Lastly, the study tested how the two models worked together to explain parenting behaviors.

The current project assumed a longitudinal design using two time-points separated by 10 months. At Time 1, 134 caregiver-child dyads were recruited and parental limit setting behaviors were observed in a laboratory setting. Caregivers also completed a survey measuring their self-reported impulsivity (neuroticism), perspective taking ability, and limit setting behaviors. At Time 2, 94 dyads returned 10 months later, with caregivers answering the survey questions presented at Time 1 again, in addition to reporting on family chaos and participating in a delay discounting task, the latter functioning as a behavioral measure of impulsivity.

The findings suggested that parental impulsivity is related to more negative limit setting behaviors and more chaotic household environments; results also suggested that a more chaotic household environment is related to higher negative limit setting behaviors. Mediation analysis showed that household chaos mediated the relationship between parental impulsivity and limit setting. Finally, to investigate how these factors operate together to influence parenting, a moderated mediation analysis was conducted, with the results showing that parental perspective taking only moderated the indirect relationship between parental impulsivity and limit setting mediated via household chaos. Specifically, the association was only significant among parents with low perspective taking ability.

Overall, these results demonstrated the value of understanding the role of parental perspective taking and household chaos in explaining the link between parental impulsivity and dysfunctional limit setting. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • The Education University of Hong Kong
  • WANG, Zhenlin, Supervisor
  • BUCHTEL, Emma Ellen Kathrina 蒲安梅, Supervisor
  • ZHU, Liqi, Supervisor, External person
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Impulsivity
  • Perspective taking
  • Household chaos
  • Limit setting
  • Theses and Dissertations
  • Thesis (Ph.D.)--The Education University of Hong Kong, 2019.


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