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Title page for ETD etd-03272009-135637

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Reising, Michelle Marshall
Author's Email Address michelle.m.reising@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-03272009-135637
Title Parental Depression, Economic Disadvantage, and the Dual Process Model of Responses to Stress in Children
Degree Master of Science
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Bruce E. Compas Committee Chair
Judy Garber Committee Member
  • depression
  • coping
  • stress
  • economic disadvantage
  • Children of depressed persons
  • Poverty -- Psychological aspects
  • Adjustment (Psychology) in children
  • Stress in children
  • Stress in adolescence
  • Adjustment (Psychology) in adolescence
Date of Defense 2009-03-27
Availability unrestricted
Previous research has shown that both having a parent with depression and economic disadvantage are chronically stressful and lead to poorer outcomes in children and adolescents, but these stressors have never been studied from an interactive approach in the context of stress reactivity and coping. Participants included 217 children (ages 9-17) of depressed parents from an economically diverse sample. Through the use of questionnaires and structured clinical interviews, we tested the association of chronic stress related to parental depression and economic disadvantage, both independently and in combination, with children’s affective symptoms and the possible accounting for this relation by stress reactivity and coping. Results indicated associations between parental depression and economic disadvantage stressors, and children’s stress reactivity, coping, and affective symptoms. Independent effects of parental depression and economic disadvantage stressors were partially accounted for by coping, but not stress reactivity. Additionally, an interaction of the effects of parental depression stressors and economic disadvantage was found. The interaction effect was fully accounted for by coping, but not stress reactivity, lending support to the dual responses to stress model, which posits that stress impacts an individual’s psychological outcomes in two ways: through the direct effects of the stress itself and through the disabling effects of chronic stress on an individual’s ability to cope. Limitations and future directions of this work are discussed.
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