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15-08-2018 | Original Paper | Uitgave 12/2018

Journal of Child and Family Studies 12/2018

The Mediating Effects of Parentification on the Relation Between Parenting Behavior and Well-Being and Depressive Symptoms in Early Adolescents

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 12/2018
Shelby Burton, Lisa M. Hooper, Sara Tomek, Bridget Cauley, Ahmad Washington, Patrick Pössel


Approximately 3 million child and adolescent cases are investigated for maltreatment each year, and 75% of those cases are categorized as neglect. Parentification, a form of neglect, has emerged as an important clinical topic and focus of empirical research. Similar to the research base on neglect, the accumulated literature point toward a significant positive relation between parentification and pernicious outcomes, although nascent literature also has found a link between parentification and resiliency and select competencies. The purpose of the current study was two-fold: (a) To explore the extent to which parentification mediates the relation between parenting behaviors and depressive symptoms and well-being (as measured by negative and positive affect) in a sample of early adolescents (i.e., ages 11–14)? And, (b) to what extent does gender moderate the proposed mediation model? We found in our sample (N = 314) parentification mediated the association between parenting behaviors and depressive symptoms (negative affect) and partially mediated the relation between parenting behaviors and well-being (positive affect). In addition, gender partially moderated select mediation models. These findings may be useful in the conceptualization of cross-sectional and longitudinal studies focused on family systems and parenting interventions in families where parentification has occurred.

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