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Title:Predictors of outcome for the young offspring of depressed mothers: Maternal psychopathology, maternal behavior, and the social/familial context
Author(s):Neff, Cynthia
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Developmental
Psychology, Clinical
Abstract:The present study investigated the roles of maternal psychopathology, maternal behavior, and the social/familial context as predictors of outcome in the 2-3 year old offspring of a community sample of mothers with unipolar affective disorders (current and in remission). Maternal psychopathology variables were assessed using structured diagnostic interviews and self-report measures. Measures of maternal behavior and child outcomes were derived from home observations and interviews with the child's mother. Comparisons of the currently depressed and remitted groups generally suggested that remission of depressive symptoms exerts little impact on either maternal or child functioning. Results indicated considerable specificity in the prediction of child outcome variables by maternal behavior variables. Regression analyses examining the relative impact of maternal depression and comorbid disorders on child outcomes suggested that maternal depression, and in particular the chronicity of maternal depression, had a more substantial influence on children's functioning than maternal personality disorder or maternal anxiety disorder. Regression analyses examining the contributions of the social/familial context, maternal psychopathology and maternal behavior to the prediction of specific outcome measures indicated that different outcomes were associated with different patterns of predictor-outcome relationships. Maternal psychopathology contributed to the prediction of most of the outcome variables, even when social/familial context factors and maternal behavior were controlled. Variables indexing specific patterns of maternal interactive behavior added significantly to the prediction of several child outcome variables, even after the effects of maternal psychopathology and social/familial context were controlled. There was little evidence that aspects of the social/familial context such as marital dissatisfaction and SES contribute substantially to the negative outcomes observed in the offspring of depressed mothers. The results are discussed in terms of previous research on the offspring of depressives and current models of the transmission of psychopathology in the offspring of depressed parents.
Issue Date:1994
Rights Information:Copyright 1994 Neff, Cynthia
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9503286
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9503286

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