Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Lance Peterson


Social Work


Teenagers under the influence of strong emotions, without the tools to regulate them, can be identified as dangerous. Throughout the past decade many cases of poor emotional regulation in adolescents have been documented, including school shootings, murders, and suicides. The literature discussed the impact attachment and parenting styles have on the development of adolescents and the positive outcomes individual work with parents, in therapy, has had for family systems. This research aims to further the knowledge of the impact parenting styles have on the development of emotional regulation in adolescents and to describe effective means of helping adolescents develop the ability to regulate their emotions, through the use of family therapy. Data for this project was collected through a qualitative study, which interviewed four licensed marriage and family therapists. Each participant was asked seven semi-structured questions that focused on the association between caregiver and adolescent interactions and the ability for the adolescent to effectively regulate his or her emotions and also practical interventions to use in family therapy, to help repair the adolescent’s ability to regulate his or her emotions. The findings of this project were consistent with the literature and furthered current literature, by discussing specific interventions therapists could utilize while working with clients in therapy, such as using therapy as a model for effective interactions. This research could be furthered by investigating what happens to children, who have developed skills to regulate their emotions, when: 1) their parents are invested in the treatment process but then revert back to old behaviors; and 2) their parents never become invested in the treatment process and their natural home environment remains chaotic and dysfunctional.

Included in

Social Work Commons