Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



First Advisor

Jill Rathus, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Eva Feindler, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Michelle Chung, Psy.D.


The concept of the “invalidating environment” is a core construct of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), serving as a defining component of Linehan’s biosocial theory (1993a). In this context, the understanding and practice of validation helps to strengthen the relationship between young adults and their caregivers. Research proposes that invalidation increases emotion dysregulation and impairs cognitive processing ability (Martel and Fuchs, 2017). Cognitive flexibility, which allows individuals to adapt to distressing, changing environments, seems to play an important role in emotion regulation. Cognitive flexibility within Asian children has been studied in the context of family conflict and parental rejection (Ahn, Kim, and Park, 2008). However, there is to date no research regarding cognitive flexibility as it relates to the DBT biosocial model, the invalidating environment, and emotion regulation. As Asian youth are highly susceptible to invalidation (Hahm, Gonyea, Chiao, Koritsanszky, 2014; Keng and Soh, 2018) and young adulthood is a period of onset for possible trajectories toward severe psychopathology (Martel & Fuchs, 2017), understanding the relationship between an invalidating environment and cognitive flexibility within an Asian young adult community could be important in suggesting points of intervention and revealing a possible mechanism regarding the relationship between an invalidating environment and the occurrence of emotion dysregulation. The present study evaluated the relationship between perceived parental validation and cognitive flexibility in a sample of 88 Asian young adults. Results revealed that in contrast to appraisal and coping flexibility, only cognitive control over emotion was negatively correlated with invalidation (𝐫 (88) = -0.264, p < 0.01). We also found cognitive control over emotion to be a mediator between invalidation and emotion dysregulation (p = 0.008). Study implications include targeting specific cognitive control strategies directly to potentially recover from perceived parental invalidation and to manage emotion dysregulation.