To deal with the stress involved in parenting a child with a disability, parents might benefit from using adaptive emotion regulation (ER) strategies. ER may serve as a protective factor against psychological distress among parents of children with disabilities, as well as promote the healthy development of their child. In this paper, we delineate the factors that contribute to the use of adaptive and maladaptive ER strategies among parents of children with disabilities. To this end, a systematic review using the PRISMA guideline was conducted, targeting studies that examine ER in this population. Thirty-three eligible articles were identified and discussed. We first review which ER strategies have been examined among parents of children with disabilities and the implication of using these strategies on parents’ well-being, parenting style, and child ER. Findings suggest that compared to their counterparts, parents of children with disabilities show emotion dysregulation patterns, which are associated with negative outcomes for both the parents and the child. Conversely, these parents utilize adaptive ER strategies to a lesser degree. Based on this literature review, we propose the Strained Parenting and Emotion Regulation (SPER) model, which posits that ER among parents of children with disabilities may be compromised due to three factors: intensified negative emotions, depleted cognitive resources, and challenging parent-child interactions. The SPER model emphasizes the presence of a vicious cycle, in which these three factors are presumably promoted by the use of maladaptive ER strategies, and their presence in tern limits the use of adaptive ER strategies, leading to the establishment of emotion dysregulation patterns in parents of children with disabilities.
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© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.
- Emotion regulation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Life-span and Life-course Studies