Date of Award

Summer 8-19-2022

Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Douglas Nangle

Second Committee Member

Cynthia Erdley

Third Committee Member

Rebecca Schwartz-Mette

Additional Committee Members

Jordan LaBouff

Craig Mason


The present study examined the relationships among three psychological constructs: self-regulation (SR), emotion regulation (ER), and social problem-solving (SPS), and their connection to depressive symptomology. SR, ER, and SPS arose from independent, well-established literature bases and each has demonstrated links to psychopathology. The theories underlying these constructs, however, suggest overlap in their operationalization and measurement. Despite these concerns, no empirical investigations to date have examined the measurement and predictive validity of measures of SR, ER, and SPS in the context of one another. Undergraduate students aged 18-29 (N = 592) completed three self-report measures each of the constructs interest, as well as a measure of depressive symptoms. First, a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was conducted, and four rival CFAs reflecting differing levels of convergence and divergence were tested against one another. Then, the best fitting measurement model was used to test a latent variable structural equation model (SEM). Findings from the first-order CFA model indicated that seven out of nine measures loaded on to their intended factors. Contrary to prediction, the bifactor model was identified as the best-fitting CFA model. This suggests that each construct is comprised of distinct variance, as well as common variance that is shared among all nine measures. Interestingly, only the common factor variance and distinct variance of ER significantly predicted depressive symptoms in the final SEM model. This study was the first to demonstrate and explore the high levels of convergence among SR, ER, and SPS as commonly measured in practice. Overall, the results indicated a substantial amount of shared variance and offered a complicated picture of construct validity. It appears that measures often used to assess these constructs are capturing more common features than investigators may be aware of, which has notable implications for the interpretation of findings. Future investigations that include a multitrait-multimethod examination of common and distinct pathways from SR, ER, and SPS to depressive symptoms would serve to further clarify these relationships.