College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Spring 6-9-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Antonio Polo, PhD

Second Advisor

Joanna Buscemi, PhD


Parenting and parental behaviors are critical to the emotional well-being of youth. Emotional overinvolvement is one part of a broader construct known as Expressed Emotion. Emotional overinvolvement is known as intrusive, overprotective, excessively self-sacrificing, or devoted behavior or exaggerated emotional response to the child (Leff & Vaughn, 1985). It is not known how Emotional Overinvolvement relates to other dimensions of parenting. Psychological control parenting behavior that involves the use of tactics such as love withdrawal, guilt induction, invalidation, and conditional approval (Barber, 1996). The current study is the first study to investigate the association between psychological control, emotional overinvolvement and changes in depressive symptoms. The sample for this study included 349 middle school aged youth (Mage = 12.3 years, 57.0% female) recruited from Chicago Public Schools across four years. The sample was 78.2% Latinx, 10% African American and 10% Mixed Backgrounds. The study found significant moderational and mediational relationships between the constructs. Gender significantly moderated the relation between psychological control and emotional overinvolvement, such that a stronger relation was found for females than males. The study also found that emotional overinvolvement mediates the relation between psychological control and changes in depressive symptoms and this effect was not moderated by any of the demographic variables that were evaluated. Findings from the current study have the potential to inform future parenting interventions that support children’s autonomy.

SLP Collection


Included in

Psychology Commons