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Although children of depressed mothers are at an increased risk for suicidal thinking, little is known about the potential mechanisms by which this occurs. The present study is the first to our knowledge to utilize a prospective design with the goal of examining whether the impact of maternal depression on children’s risk for suicidal ideation is mediated by children’s levels of overt and relational peer victimization. Participants were 203 mother-child pairs recruited from the community. The age range of the children was 8 to 14 years old (50.2 % girls). Mothers either met criteria for a major depressive disorder (MDD) during their child’s lifetime (n = 96) or had no lifetime diagnosis of any DSM-IV mood disorder and no current Axis I diagnosis (n = 107). At the baseline assessment, diagnostic interviews were used to assess mothers’ and children’s histories of MDD and children completed a self-report measure of peer victimization. Follow-up assessments were conducted at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months after the initial assessment during which time interviewers assessed for the occurrence of suicidal ideation in the children. Utilizing a mediated moderation model, we found significant indirect pathways from maternal depression to children’s suicidal ideation through both relational and overt forms of peer victimization among girls, but not among boys. The current study suggests that peer victimization may constitute one of the potential mechanisms by which daughters of depressed mothers are at increased risk for suicidal thinking.
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- Peer Victimization Mediates the Impact of Maternal Depression on Risk for Suicidal Ideation in Girls but not Boys: A Prospective Study
Brandon E. Gibb
- Springer US