Parental Flooding During Conflict: A Psychometric Evaluation of a New Scale

Tamara Del Vecchio, Michael F. Lorber, Amy M.Smith Slep, Jill Malik, Richard E. Heyman, Heather M. Foran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Parents who are overwhelmed by the intensity and aversive nature of child negative affect — those who are experiencing flooding — may be less likely to react effectively and instead may focus on escaping the aversive situation, disciplining either overly permissively or punitively to escape quickly from child negative affect. However, there are no validated self-report measures of the degree to which parents experience flooding, impeding the exploration of these relations. Thus, we created and evaluated the Parent Flooding scale (PFS), assessing the extent to which parents believe their children’s negative affect during parent-child conflicts is unexpected, overwhelming and distressing. We studied its factorial validity, reliability, and concurrent validity in a community sample of 453 couples with 3- to 7-year-old children (51.9 % girls) recruited via random digit dialing. Confirmatory factor analyses indicated a one-factor solution with excellent internal consistency. Test-retest stability over an average of 5.6 months was high. Concurrent validity was suggested by the associations of flooding with parents’ aggression toward their children, overreactive and lax discipline, parenting satisfaction, and parents’ anger, as well as with child externalizing behavior and negative affect. Incrementally concurrent validity analyses indicated that flooding was a unique predictor of mothers’ and fathers’ overreactive discipline and fathers’ parent-child aggression and lax discipline, over and above the contributions of parents’ anger and children’s negative affect. The present results support the psychometric validity of the PFS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1587-1597
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • Affect regulation
  • Discipline
  • Flooding
  • Parenting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Parental Flooding During Conflict: A Psychometric Evaluation of a New Scale'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this