The role of caretaking in children of mothers with a history of depression
Champion, Jennifer Elaine
In a sample of 71 mothers with and without a history of depression and their adolescent children, I examined maternal depression status, depressive symptoms, and negative parenting styles (hostile and withdrawn) as well as observed adolescent caretaking behaviors as predictors of anxiety and depressive symptoms in these youth. Two types of caretaking behaviors were examined: emotional and instrumental. Mediated and independent effects models were tested to understand the role of caretaking in children of parents with a history of depression. Support was found for an independent effects model; specifically, withdrawn parenting and emotional caretaking were found to function as separate and unique risk factors for symptoms of anxiety/depression in adolescents of parents with a history of depression. Evidence was not found for the role of caretaking behavior as a mediator of the effects of maternal depressive symptoms or negative parenting on adolescents’ anxiety/depression symptoms. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.