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18-07-2016 | Uitgave 4/2017

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 4/2017

The Role of Family Routines in the Intergenerational Transmission of Depressive Symptoms between Parents and their Adolescent Children

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology > Uitgave 4/2017
Erika M. Manczak, Deanna Williams, Edith Chen


Whereas previous research on environmental factors implicated in the intergenerational transmission of depression has tended to focus on the role of parenting quality (e.g., harshness), the current study sought to assess whether structural aspects of families may contribute to depression-relevant affective and immune processes in youths. Specifically, the present study examined the role of family routines in linking parental depressive symptoms to youth emotion regulation, a depression-relevant marker of low-grade inflammation, and depressive symptoms in youths. 261 parent-adolescent dyads reported on their own depressive symptoms, family routines, and youths’ emotion regulation abilities. In addition, peripheral blood was drawn from youths to assess levels of the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin 6 (IL-6). Path analyses provided support for a model in which parental depressive symptoms related to fewer family routines, which in turn were associated with higher IL-6 and depressive symptoms in youths as well as marginally associated with worse youth emotion regulation. Moreover, family routines were found to statistically account for part of the association between parent- and youth- depressive symptoms. Together, these results suggest that family routines may represent an additional facet of the family environment that can potentially contribute to the intergenerational transmission of depressive symptoms.

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