Date of Award

January 2011

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Medical Doctor (MD)



First Advisor

Linda Mayes

Subject Area(s)



While strong and interdependent associations between reflective functioning, emotion regulation, and stress tolerance have been theorized in the attachment security and psychoanalytic literature, this is one of the initial reports of the investigation of such associations. Twenty-six mothers of young children were administered a novel self-report measure of parental reflective functioning, two distinct stress induction tasks, and three self-report measures of emotion regulation. It was predicted that greater maternal reflective functioning, as measured by the PRFQ-1 self-report measure, would predict greater stress tolerance, as measured by persistence times in the Simulated Baby Paradigm and PASAT-C, as well as greater ability for emotion regulation, as measured by the DERS, ERQ, and BRIEF-A self-report measures. It was also hypothesized that greater emotion regulation would predict greater stress tolerance. Initial correlations generally did not support these hypotheses. However, further analysis of the data suggested that maternal reflective functioning may mediate the relationship between the self-appraisal of one's capacity for emotion regulation and behavior in a stressful, parenting-specific task. These findings suggest a complex and interdependent relationship between parental reflective, emotion regulation, and stress tolerance.