Children's attributional style as a mediator of the relation between parenting behaviors and children's depressive symptoms
Pineda, Ashley Quizon
The role of children’s attributional style as a partial mediator of the relation between parenting behaviors and children’s depressive symptoms was examined in children and adolescents (grades 2-8). We also examined moderated mediational processes within this model, with negative life events, age, and gender as possible moderators. In a 3-wave longitudinal study, participants and their caregivers completed reports of negative and positive parenting behaviors, children’s attributional style, children’s depressive symptoms, and negative life events at 12-month intervals. Tests of cross-sectional mediation provided some support for partial mediation in younger children. These results partially replicated previous studies that used this method to examine mediation. We then conducted half-longitudinal and fully longitudinal tests of mediation, which provide much more appropriate tests of mediation. Weak support was found for one half-longitudinal model, but the remainder of the half-longitudinal tests were nonsignificant. The fully longitudinal tests of mediation did not demonstrate evidence of mediation. Overall, no evidence of moderation was found for any of the three moderator variables (i.e., negative life events, age, and gender), with two exceptions. First, moderate support was found for age moderating the relation between positive parenting behaviors and attributional style, where the relation was significant in younger children. Second, gender moderated the auto-regressive paths of attributional style, where the auto-regressive paths were significantly larger in females than males. The evidence of cross-sectional mediation suggests noteworthy clinical implications. Although they do not appear to cause one another, the three constructs significantly relate to one another, suggesting all three areas are important targets of clinical intervention.