The effect of parental depression on children's adjustment has been well documented, with exposure during early childhood particularly detrimental. Most studies that examine links between parental depression and child behavior are confounded methodologically because they focus on parents raising children who are genetically related to them. Another limitation of most prior research is a tendency to focus only on the effects of maternal depression while ignoring the influence of fathers’ depression. The purpose of this study was to examine whether infants’ exposure to both parents’ depressive symptoms, and inherited risk from birth mother internalizing symptoms, was related to school age children's externalizing and internalizing problems. Study data come from a longitudinal adoption study of 561 adoptive parents, biological mothers, and adopted children. Adoptive fathers’ depressive symptoms during infancy contributed independent variance to the prediction of children's internalizing symptoms and also moderated associations between adoptive mothers’ depressive symptoms and child externalizing symptoms.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)