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01-03-2021 | Uitgave 8/2021

Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology 8/2021

Examining Maternal Elaborative Reminiscing as a Protective Factor in the Intergenerational Transmission of Psychopathology

Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology > Uitgave 8/2021
Caroline Swetlitz, Sarah F. Lynch, Cathi B. Propper, Jennifer L. Coffman, Nicholas J. Wagner
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The online version contains supplementary material available at https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10802-021-00790-4.

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Most research examining the impact of early parental depression on the developing child has focused on the nature of parenting practices observed in depressed adults. Maternal elaborative reminiscing, or the extent to which mothers elaboratively discuss past shared experiences with their children, has a considerable influence on children’s emotional and social development and is understudied within the context of maternal depression. The current study is the first to examine whether maternal elaborative reminiscing in middle childhood mediates the association between exposure to maternal depressive symptoms in infancy and later internalizing and externalizing problems. The study included 206 mother–child dyads recruited from the community who participated in a prospective longitudinal study. Maternal depressive symptoms were assessed when offspring were 6-months old. At 5-years old, dyads were observed during a free play task to measure sensitive and harsh-intrusive parenting and during a reminiscing task to measure maternal elaboration. Teacher-reported internalizing and externalizing problems were collected at age 7. A saturated path model revealed that maternal elaborative reminiscing, but not sensitive or harsh-intrusive parenting, fully mediated the association between maternal depression in infancy and externalizing, but not internalizing, problems. Reduced maternal elaboration during parent–child reminiscing constitutes one way in which risk from early maternal depression is associated with later externalizing problems.

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