Parenting and coregulation: Adaptive systems for competence in children experiencing homelessness

Janette E. Herbers, J. J. Cutuli, Laura M. Supkoff, Angela J. Narayan, Ann S. Masten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The role of effective parenting in promoting child executive functioning and school success was examined among 138 children (age 4 to 6 years) staying in family emergency shelters the summer before kindergarten or 1st grade. Parent- child coregulation, which refers to relationship processes wherein parents guide and respond to the behavior of their children, was observed during structured interaction tasks and quantified as a dyadic construct using state space grid methodology. Positive coregulation was related to children's executive functioning and IQ, which in turn were related to teacher-reported outcomes once school began. Separate models considering parenting behavior demonstrated that executive function carried indirect effects of parents' directive control to school outcomes. Meanwhile, responsive parenting behaviors directly predicted children's peer acceptance at school beyond effects of executive function and IQ. Findings support theory and past research in developmental science, indicating the importance of effective parenting in shaping positive adaptive skills among children who overcome adversity, in part through processes of coregulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)420-430
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Orthopsychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 American Orthopsychiatric Association.


  • Adversity
  • Coregulation
  • Executive function
  • Homelessness
  • Parenting


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