Parental Emotion Regulation and Mentalization in Families of Children With ADHD

Naama Gershy*, Sarah A.O. Gray

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Objective: The aim of this study is to examine the role of parental emotion regulation (ER) and parental mentalization as possible contributors to hostile and coercive parenting in families of children with ADHD. Method: Seventy-four Israeli families (64 mothers and 48 fathers) seeking parent training for child ADHD completed measures during the intake session. Measures included parental ER; parental mentalization; hostile, coercive, and submissive parenting; and child symptoms. Results: Findings suggested a relationship between parental ER and coercive parenting independent of child age, symptom level, and parental mentalization. Parental mentalization appeared to buffer against hostility specifically among parents with low ER capacities. Patterns were parallel for mothers and fathers. Conclusion: Study findings highlight the importance of evaluating and addressing parental ER in interventions attempting to reduce coercive parenting. The findings also highlight the potential role of parental mentalization as a protective mechanism against hostile parenting in families of children with ADHD.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2084-2099
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Attention Disorders
Issue number14
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Special thanks to Irit Schorr Sapir, director of the ADHD clinic at Schneider Children’s Medical Center of Israel, for her invitation to conduct the study at the clinic and for her generous support throughout the process. We would also like to thank Michael Partas and Eyal Ronen Ackerman for their significant help in data collection. The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2018.


  • ADHD
  • coercive parenting
  • parental emotion regulation
  • parental mentalization
  • protective mechanisms


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