Vulnerability in the context of risk: effortful control and maternal depression

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Erin B. Denio (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Susan P. Keane

Abstract: Interactions between child and parent characteristics may result in the development of normal or abnormal behavior. In some contexts, these interactions may shape the likelihood that a child develops internalizing problems. Parent characteristics include maternal depression (MD), which has been associated with children’s development of anxiety and depression. Likewise, temperament is a child characteristic associated with internalizing problems. One goal of this study was to clarify whether MD and child temperament (i.e., effortful control [EC]) contribute a common diathesis to the expression of anxiety and depression or differentially predict these outcomes. Studies suggest that subcomponents of EC (i.e., attentional control, inhibitory control) differentially relate to anxiety and depression in adults and older children. Attentional control has been associated with anxiety, whereas inhibitory control has been associated with depression. The current study examined the effect of children’s attentional control at age 4 on anxiety at age 5 in addition to the effect of inhibitory control at age 4 and depression at age 5. Moreover, the moderating effect of attentional control on the relation between MD at 4 and anxiety at 5 was tested. Similarly, the potential moderating effect of inhibitory control on the relation between MD at age 4 and depression at age 5 was examined. Unexpectedly, a significant interaction between inhibitory control and MD indicated that maternal depression at 4 predicts child depression at 5 at moderate and high levels of inhibitory control. The implications of this potential exacerbating effect of inhibitory control in the context of MD are discussed.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2016
Anxiety, Depression, Effortful control, Internalizing, Maternal depression
Anxiety in children
Depression in children
Temperament in children
Mother and child $x Psychological aspects
Children of depressed persons $x Mental health

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