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Title:Parental depressive symptoms and marital intimacy as predictors of parent-child interaction: a family systems perspective
Author(s):Engle, Jennifer M.
Director of Research:McElwain, Nancy L.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):McElwain, Nancy L.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Bost, Kelly; Kramer, Laurie; Pleck, Joseph; Roisman, Glenn I.
Department / Program:Human & Community Development
Discipline:Human & Community Development
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):parental depression
parent-child interaction
family systems
marital intimacy
Abstract:The relations among parental depression, the marital relationship, and parent-child interaction were assessed using data from a subset (N = 718) of families from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development. The Actor-Partner Interdependence Model was utilized to estimate actor and partner effects of parental depression and marital intimacy on parent-child interaction concurrently (at 54 months) and longitudinally (at first grade). In addition, interactions among the above variables assessed: (1) the association between actor depression and parent-child interaction as a function of partner depression, (2) marital intimacy as a buffer against the negative effects of parental depression on parent-child interaction, and (3) whether the above associations differed by parent gender. Partner depression moderated the association between actor depression and parenting both concurrently and longitudinally: (a) nondepressed fathers with a depressed (versus nondepressed) partner engaged in less cognitive stimulation at 54 months, and (b) nondepressed mothers with a depressed (versus nondepressed) partner were less sensitive at first grade. Moreover, for three of the four longitudinal models, marital intimacy moderated the association between actor depression and parent-child interaction, although the pattern of this interaction differed for mothers and fathers. Higher levels of self-reported marital intimacy were associated with less positive mother-child interaction for depressed mothers, but more positive father-child interaction for depressed fathers. Results highlight the importance of investigating parental depression and parent-child relationships from a family systems perspective, in which both actor and partner effects of parental depression are estimated. Furthermore, findings from the longitudinal models underscore marital intimacy as a buffer of paternal depression on father-child interaction quality.
Issue Date:2011-08-26
Rights Information:Copyright 2011 Jennifer M. Engle
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-08-27
Date Deposited:2011-08

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