Horton, A. L., Russell, B. S., Tambling, R. R., Britner, P. A., Hutchison, M., & Tomkunas, A. J. (2022). Predictors of children's emotion regulation outcomes during COVID‐19: Role of conflict within the family. Family Relations.


This work aimed to analyze the role of family conflict on children’s emotion regulation and stress outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic.


The COVID-19 pandemic brought novel stress to families. The stress experienced could impact family relationships—specifically, perceptions of closeness and patterns of conflict. Positive family environment and high-quality family relationships are associated with adaptive coping and lower levels of stress among children.


Data were collected online from 110 participants at baseline and again 30 days later. Associations between parent–child relationship, sibling relationships, and child stress and emotion regulation outcomes 30 days later were tested through multiple stepwise regression.


Both significant regression models suggest that parent–child conflict is the strongest predictor of child stress and negativity over the 30-day assessment period. Sibling conflict predicted child stress but not negativity.


Family conflict during the COVID-19 pandemic influenced children’s emotion regulation outcomes as seen through significant associations between child–parent conflict, sibling conflict, perceived child stress, and children’s negativity.


Family scientists and practitioners should consider interventions that help parents teach their children how to cope with their own stresses and emotions after conflict.