Direct and Indirect Associations of Parental Mindfulness with Child Coping and Child Depression
Children of depressed parents are at an increased risk for depression and other forms of internalizing and externalizing psychopathology, but certain factors may interrupt or moderate this transmission. Specifically, both dispositional mindfulness and secondary control coping are negatively associated with depression. The present study seeks to understand the intergenerational associations between mindfulness in depressed parents, their children’s coping strategies, and children’s depression, internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Using data from 242 children and 180 target parents, we assessed the effects of parent mindfulness on child depression through child coping strategies. Regression analysis revealed significant relations between all variables being studied, and modeling of the pathways suggested that there is a partial indirect effect of parent mindfulness on offspring depression or anxiety through secondary control coping skills. This study has potential implications for the clinical application of mindfulness within the context of family interventions.