Drawing on a normative sample of 224 youth and their biological mothers, this study tested 4 family variables as potential mediators of the relationship between maternal depressive symptoms in early childhood and child psychological outcomes in preadolescence. The mediators examined included mother-child communication, the quality of the mother-child relationship, maternal social support, and stressful life events in the family. The most parsimonious structural equation model suggested that having a more problematic mother-child relationship mediated disruptive behavior-disordered outcomes for youths, whereas less maternal social support mediated the development of internalizing disorders. Gender and race were tested as moderators, but significant model differences did not emerge between boys and girls or between African American and Caucasian youths.
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