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Title page for ETD etd-04022013-134851

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Gruhn, Meredith Adele
Author's Email Address meredith.a.gruhn@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-04022013-134851
Title Testing specificity in the relationship between parenting and child psychopathology in children of depressed parents
Degree Master of Arts
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Bruce E. Compas Committee Member
JoAnne Bachorowski Committee Member
  • internalizing problems
  • withdrawn & harsh parenting
  • parental depression
  • children
  • externalizing problems
  • at-risk youth
Date of Defense 2013-03-29
Availability unrestricted
The purpose of the present study was to examine the independent and joint effects of observed withdrawn and harsh parenting patterns on children's internalizing and externalizing symptoms in an at-risk sample of children of mothers with a history of depression. Data were obtained from 180 parents with a history of major depressive disorder (160 mothers, 20 fathers) and their 9- to 15-year-old children (91 males, 89 females) to assess children's internalizing and externalizing symptoms in relation to parenting behaviors, parents’ diagnostic status, and current depressive symptoms. Little evidence was found that parents’ diagnostic status amplified the prevalence of behavioral problems in children; however, parents’ self-reported depressive symptoms were significantly correlated to all dimensions of parenting and child adjustment, as predicted. Partial support was found for the hypotheses that harsh parenting may uniquely relate to externalizing behaviors while withdrawn parenting may uniquely relate to internalizing behaviors. Overall, analyses revealed that, while parental depressive symptoms and withdrawn parenting behaviors were significantly related to child adjustment, harsh parenting (e.g., intrusive, hostile, coercive, inconsistent parenting) best predicted children’s internalizing and externalizing symptoms. This study provides preliminary evidence that harsh parenting may be particularly influential in child adjustment for children of depressed parents. Theoretical and clinical implications are discussed.
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