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01-03-2018 | Original Paper | Uitgave 6/2018 Open Access

Journal of Child and Family Studies 6/2018

Associations between Psychopathology in Mothers, Fathers and Their Children: A Structural Modeling Approach

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 6/2018
Auteurs:
D. Weijers, F. J. A. van Steensel, S. M. Bögels

Abstract

This study investigated associations between parental and child psychopathology with parenting stress as a possible mediator, in order to get more insight in mothers’ and fathers’ roles in the development of psychopathology in children. Parents of 272 clinically referred (aged 6–20, 66% boys) reported about their own and their child’s behavioral problems, and about parenting stress. Data were analyzed using Structural Equation Modeling. Outcomes of path models demonstrated that mothers’ higher internalizing and externalizing problems were associated with respectively children’s higher internalizing and externalizing problems. Fathers’ higher externalizing problems were associated with both children’s higher internalizing and externalizing problems, but fathers’ internalizing problems were only associated with children’s lower externalizing problems. Parenting stress fully mediated the relation between mothers’ and children’s externalizing problems, and partly mediated the relation between mothers’ and children’s internalizing problems. For fathers, parenting stress partly mediated the relation between fathers’ internalizing problems and children’s externalizing problems. Findings indicate that for mothers, the association between parental and child psychopathology is specific, whereas for fathers it is non-specific. Furthermore, results suggest that reducing parenting stress may decrease child problem behavior. Longitudinal studies are needed in order to gain more insight in the direction and underlying mechanisms of the relation between parental and child psychopathology, including parental stress.

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