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17-08-2020 | Original Paper | Uitgave 10/2020

Journal of Child and Family Studies 10/2020

Child Hostility toward a Parent with a History of Depression and Family Functioning

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 10/2020
Danielle R. Rice, Alexandra D. W. Sullivan, Rex L. Forehand, Kelly H. Watson, Alexandra H. Bettis, Meredith Gruhn, Bruce E. Compas
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Family dysfunction has been associated with both child externalizing problems, including hostility, and parent depression or depressive symptoms. Research investigating child hostility directed toward a parent with a history of depression is absent, yet it may be associated with especially high levels of family dysfunction. The current study aimed to assess (1) the relation between observed child hostility, measured by the Iowa Family Interaction Rating Scale, toward such a parent and child-reported family dysfunction, using the Family Assessment Device, and (2) whether current parent depressive symptoms, measured by the Beck Depression Inventory-II, moderated this association. We hypothesized that child hostility would negatively relate to family functioning, even after controlling for parent depressive symptoms, and that parent depressive symptoms would moderate this association in that high levels of such symptoms would strengthen the negative relation between child hostility and family functioning. To address these hypotheses, hierarchical regression and moderation analyses were conducted in SPSS. Results indicated that higher levels of child hostility related to a more dysfunctional family environment. Furthermore, although speculative as the interaction of child hostility toward a parent and parent depressive symptoms only approached conventional levels of significance, low levels of both constructs may protect against family dysfunction. Findings from this study may inform new methods of family intervention and prevention, as well as ways of identifying families most at risk for dysfunction.

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