Stress Generation in a Developmental Context: The Role of Youth Depressive Symptoms, Maternal Depression, the Parent–Child Relationship, and Family Stress.

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Claremont McKenna College, Psychology (CMC)

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The present study examined stress generation in a developmental and family context among 171 mothers and their preadolescent children, ages 8-12 years, at baseline (Time 1) and 1-year follow-up (Time 2). In the current study, we examined the bidirectional relationship between children's depressive symptoms and dependent family stress. Results suggest that children's baseline level of depressive symptoms predicted the generation of dependent family stress 1 year later. However, baseline dependent family stress did not predict an increase in children's depressive symptoms 1 year later. In addition, we examined whether a larger context of both child chronic strain (indicated by academic, behavioral, and peer stress) and family factors, including socioeconomic status and parent-child relationship quality, would influence the stress generation process. Although both chronic strain and socioeconomic status were not associated with dependent family stress at Time 2, poorer parent-child relationship quality significantly predicted greater dependent family stress at Time 2. Child chronic strain, but neither socioeconomic status nor parent-child relationship quality, predicted children's depression symptoms at Time 2. Finally, gender, maternal depression history, and current maternal depressive symptoms did not moderate the relationship between level of dependent family stress and depressive symptoms. Overall, findings provide partial support for a developmental stress generation model operating in the preadolescent period.

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