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Title page for ETD etd-08032017-154206

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Sutherland, Susanna Louise
URN etd-08032017-154206
Title Dynamic Longitudinal Associations between Parents’ Depressive Symptoms and Children’s Explanatory Style
Degree Master of Science
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Judy Garber Committee Member
  • psychopathology
  • parenting
  • children
  • depression
Date of Defense 2017-08-03
Availability restricted
Offspring of depressed parents are at significantly greater risk for developing psychopathology and impairment in cognitive and social functioning than children of non-depressed parents. The current longitudinal study examined the relation between changes in parents’ depressive symptoms and children’s attributional style, each assessed five times over two years. Participants were 227 parents and children [ages 7-17 (Mean = 12.53, SD = 2.33), 53% female]. Parents either were in a current Major Depressive Episode (n = 129) or were lifetime-free of mood disorders (n = 98). Depressive symptoms in parents were assessed with the Beck Depression Inventory; children’s explanatory style was measured with the Children’s Attributional Style Questionnaire. Latent difference score (LDS) modeling (McArdle & Hamagami, 2001) was used to examine changes in parents’ depressive symptoms and children’s explanatory style over time. The final latent difference score model yielded a close fit to the data: 2 (60)= 1100.115, p = .00; RMSEA= .042; 90% CI [.00, .07]; CFI=.99. The results revealed three main findings. First, level of parents’ depressive symptoms was negatively associated with changes in children’s cognitive style across each time lag. Second, better child cognitive style at baseline was associated with less increase in parents’ depressive symptoms (constant slope). Finally, higher parental depressive symptoms at baseline (intercept) were associated with less decline (i.e., greater worsening) of children’s cognitive style over time. Results indicate that a bidirectional relation exists between parental depression and children’s attributional style.

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