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17-02-2018 | Original Paper | Uitgave 6/2018

Journal of Child and Family Studies 6/2018

Maternal Depression, Social Vulnerability and Gender: Prediction of Emotional Problems Among Schoolchildren

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 6/2018
Fernanda Aguiar Pizeta, Sonia Regina Loureiro, Sonia Regina Pasian


This paper analyzes the predictive effect of recurrent maternal depression and social vulnerability indicators on internalizing behavior among schoolchildren, considering potential differences in mediator and moderator effects related to the children’s gender. A cross-section of 100 mother-child pairs participated in the study and were systematically assessed: mothers were aged between 25 and 45 years old and children were at school age (7–12 years old); 50 mothers presented recurrent depression and 50 mothers presented no mental disorders. The mothers answered to a diagnostic interview, a general questionnaire and to the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Prediction models assessed maternal depression and social vulnerability indicators as well as the moderator and mediator effect of the children’s gender (p ≤ .05). The results indicate that maternal depression is directly and negatively related to emotional problems for boys and girls, maintaining its significant impact for girls in the presence of cumulative risks. For the effect of cumulative risks for such an outcome, the mothers’ low educational level influence emotional problems among boys. Gender was not identified as a moderator or mediator variable. Identifying the differentiated impact of maternal depression and other vulnerable conditions for boys and girls can support public policies focused on child mental health and care delivery.

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