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27-05-2019 | Empirical Research

Coping and Stress Reactivity as Moderators of Maternal Depressive Symptoms and Youth’s Internalizing and Externalizing Symptoms

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Youth and Adolescence
Auteurs:
Allison Vreeland, Alexandra H. Bettis, Michelle M. Reising, Jennifer P. Dunbar, Kelly H. Watson, Meredith A. Gruhn, Bruce E. Compas
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Abstract

Youth’s responses to stress are a central feature of risk and resilience across development. The current study examined whether youth coping and stress reactivity moderate the association of current maternal depressive symptoms with youth’s internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Mothers (Mage = 41.58, SD = 6.18) with a wide range of depressive symptoms and their children ages 9–15 (Mage = 12.25, SD = 1.89, 45.3% girls) completed measures of youth symptoms and coping and automatic responses to stress. Mothers also completed a self-report measure of depressive symptoms. Youth’s primary and secondary control coping, stress reactivity, and involuntary disengagement moderated the association between current maternal depressive symptoms and youth symptoms. Maternal depressive symptoms were associated with youth’s internalizing and externalizing symptoms when youth used low as opposed to high levels of primary and secondary control coping. Conversely, maternal depressive symptoms were associated with youth symptoms for youth with high levels of stress reactivity and involuntary disengagement. The findings suggest interventions focused on improving the use of primary and secondary control coping skills and reducing reactivity and involuntary disengagement to stress may benefit youth with mothers who are experiencing high levels of depressive symptoms.

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