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01-04-2012 | Uitgave 3/2012

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 3/2012

The Effects of Parental Depressive Symptoms, Appraisals, and Physical Punishment on Later Child Externalizing Behavior

Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology > Uitgave 3/2012
Kevin A. Callender, Sheryl L. Olson, Daniel E. Choe, Arnold J. Sameroff
Belangrijke opmerkingen
This research was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (RO1MH57489) to Sheryl Olson and Arnold Sameroff. We are very grateful to the children, parents, teachers, and preschool administrators who participated, and to the many individuals who gave us invaluable help with data collection and coding, especially Gail Benninghoff and Meribeth Gandy Pezda. We also thank the administrators of the University of Michigan Children’s Center for their generous assistance.
An erratum to this article can be found at http://​dx.​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10802-011-9585-4.


Examined a cognitive-behavioral pathway by which depressive symptoms in mothers and fathers increase risk for later child externalizing problem behavior via parents’ appraisals of child behavior and physical discipline. Participants were 245 children (118 girls) at risk for school-age conduct problems, and their parents and teachers. Children were approximately 3 years old at Time 1 (T1) and 5 ½ years old at Time 2 (T2). At T1, mothers and fathers reported their depressive symptoms, perceptions of their child’s reciprocal affection and responsiveness, frequency of physical punishment, and child externalizing problems. Mothers, fathers, and teachers provided ratings of externalizing behavior at T2. Structural equation modeling revealed that parents’ negative attributions mediated positive relations between their depressive symptoms and frequency of physical punishment for both fathers and mothers. More frequent physical punishment, in turn, predicted increased child externalizing behavior at T2. In future research, transactional mechanisms underlying effects of clinical depression on child conduct problems should be explored at multiple stages of development. For parents showing depressive symptoms, restructuring distorted perceptions about their children’s behavior may be an important component of intervention programs.

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