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30-07-2015 | Uitgave 3/2016

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 3/2016

Preschoolers’ Psychopathology and Temperament Predict Mothers’ Later Mood Disorders

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology > Uitgave 3/2016
Auteurs:
Anna E. S. Allmann, Daniel C. Kopala-Sibley, Daniel N. Klein

Abstract

Considerable research exists documenting the relationship between maternal mood disorders, primarily major depressive disorder (MDD), and a variety of negative child outcomes. By contrast, research exploring the reverse pathway whereby child traits are associated with later maternal mood disorders is much more limited. We examined whether young children’s temperament and psychopathology predicted maternal mood disorders approximately 6 years later. Child temperament and symptoms were assessed at age three using semi-structured diagnostic interviews and parent-report inventories. Maternal psychopathology was assessed with semi-structured interviews when children were 3 and 9 years old. Mothers also reported on their marital satisfaction when children were 3 and 6 years old. Child temperamental negative affectivity (NA), depressive symptoms, and externalizing behavior problems significantly predicted maternal mood disorders over and above prior maternal mood, anxiety, and substance disorders. The link between children’s early externalizing symptoms and maternal mood disorders 6 years later was mediated by maternal marital satisfaction 3 years after the initial assessment. These findings suggest that early child temperament and psychopathology contribute to risk for later maternal mood disorders both directly and through their impact on the marital system. Research indicates that effective treatment of maternal depression is associated with positive outcomes for children; however, this study suggests that treating early child problems may mitigate the risk of later maternal psychopathology.

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