Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



The importance of establishing predictable routines during early childhood has been consistently emphasized by parenting experts in the popular press, despite limited empirical study or understanding of their relationship to child behavior. The lack of research may be partially due to a lack of instruments suitable for measuring children’s routines. The Child Routines Inventory (CRI) was developed as an empirically based parent-report measure of commonly occurring routines in school-aged children. Since its development, the CRI has demonstrated moderate correlations with related constructs, including family routines, child behavior problems, parenting stress, and maternal depression. However, child routines have not been evaluated in relation to parenting practices. Furthermore, research on children’s daily stress has demonstrated a moderating impact of family routines on internalizing and externalizing behavior in children. The present study aimed 1) to further evaluate the psychometric properties of the CRI, 2) to determine factors that promote and disrupt routines in children, and 3) to examine the potential moderating role of children’s routines on the relationship between maternal distress and externalizing behavior problems. Participants included 153 mothers of children between the ages of 6 and 12, comprising a heterogeneous sample. Mothers completed measures of child routines, child adjustment, parental adjustment, and parenting practices, including the Child Routines Inventory, Behavior Assessment System for Children – Parent Report Form, Brief Symptom Inventory-18, Parent Behavior Inventory, Alabama Parenting Questionnaire, and a demographics questionnaire. Results provided additional support for the construct validity of the CRI, demonstrating strong evidence of convergent validity and weaker evidence of divergent validity. Hierarchical regression analysis suggested that positive parenting practices promote and negative parenting practices disrupt child routines, with parenting practices accounting for more variance in child routines than demographic factors or maternal distress. A second multivariate regression analysis indicated that while lack of child routines was significantly predictive of externalizing behavior problems, child routines did not moderate the impact of maternal distress on externalizing behavior problems. Future studies should continue to develop and validate the CRI and further explore the function of child routines within parenting models.



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Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Mary Lou Kelley



Included in

Psychology Commons