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Title page for ETD etd-07182012-231905

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Korelitz, Katherine Elizabeth
Author's Email Address katy.korelitz@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-07182012-231905
Title Relations among Symptom Severity, Coping, and Parenting in Depressed and Non-depressed Parents
Degree Master of Science
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Judy Garber Committee Chair
Bruce Compas Committee Member
  • parenting
  • depression
  • coping
Date of Defense 2012-07-20
Availability unrestricted
Depressed parents tend to exhibit impaired parenting, although the specific mechanisms underlying this relation are not well understood. Past research has shown that depressed adults use less adaptive coping strategies than nondepressed adults. Additionally, evidence suggests that parents’ coping influences how they interact with their children. To explore the relations among parental depression, coping, and parenting behavior, the present study of depressed and nondepressed parents examined cross-sectional associations between (1) severity of parents’ depressive symptoms and coping, and (2) parental coping and the quality of parenting as reported by children. We also explored how parenting and coping change when depressive symptoms remit after four months of treatment.

Results indicate that (1) depressive symptoms were negatively related to primary and secondary control coping, and positively related to disengagement coping (2) parents’ secondary control coping, and to a lesser extent primary control coping, were positively associated with parental warmth/acceptance and their child’s attachment to them, and negatively related to parent-child conflict. Thus, these results are consistent with the idea that secondary control coping may be a link between parental depression and impaired parenting. After four months of treatment, parents whose symptoms remitted exhibited a significant reduction in disengagement coping, but no change in primary or secondary control coping or in parenting. One clinical implication of these findings is that interventions that target coping and/or parenting skills may be warranted when treating depressed parents.

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