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01-07-2015 | Original Paper | Uitgave 7/2015

Journal of Child and Family Studies 7/2015

Associations Between Internalizing Problems in Adolescent Daughters Versus Sons and Mental Health Problems in Mothers Versus Fathers (The HUNT Study)

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 7/2015
Auteurs:
Ingunn Ranøyen, Christian A. Klöckner, Jan Wallander, Thomas Jozefiak

Abstract

Very little research has examined familial aggregation of different mental health problems and distinguished between mothers and fathers as well as daughters and sons in large community samples. The purpose of the study was to examine associations between mental health problems in mothers versus fathers and internalizing problems in adolescent daughters versus sons. This cross-sectional study used data from a Norwegian community study (the HUNT3 study) consisting of 5,732 adolescents (ages 13–18) who had one (N = 2,503) or both parents (N = 3,229) participating. In adolescents, we measured subjective well-being (SWB), self-esteem, and symptoms of anxiety, depression, and social anxiety, and in parents, symptoms of anxiety and depression, alcohol abuse, and maternal eating problems. We analyzed data with structural equation modeling. Findings showed that both maternal and paternal anxiety and depression were significantly associated with SWB, self-esteem, anxiety/depression, and social anxiety in both daughters and sons. The results indicated that associations between these problems were not dependent on parental or offspring sex. Parental alcohol abuse and maternal eating problems were not associated with any of the measured mental health problems in adolescents. Internalizing mental health problems appear aggregated in families, but do not seem to be affected by parental or offspring sex. When clinicians meet parents or adolescents displaying mental distress, it may be beneficial to assess the mental status of the entire family in order to evaluate the need for intervention.

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