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Depression and anxiety


BACKGROUND: Depression is a highly prevalent, debilitating disorder that runs in families. Yet, empirical support for bidirectional mechanisms linking mother-adolescent depression symptoms remains limited. This study examined longitudinal bidirectional relations among emotion regulation (ER) constructs and depressive symptoms among mother-adolescent dyads over time. Pathways for girls and boys were explored separately, given extant research on sex differences in the intergenerational transmission of depression.

METHODS: Adolescent (n = 232; M = 15.02 years, SD = 0.95; 44% female)-mother dyads, drawn from a longitudinal study on the development of risky behaviors, completed annual assessments of depressive symptoms and facets of ER over 4 years. Panel modeling examined lagged and cross-lagged effects of mother-adolescent depressive symptoms and ER constructs over time, in a multigroup model of boys and girls.

RESULTS: Among girls, higher baseline maternal depression scores predicted increased adolescent ER difficulties (std. est. = -.42, p < .001) in turn, predicting increased adolescent depressive symptoms (std. est. = -.33, p = .002) and subsequent maternal ER difficulties (std. est. = .39, p = .002). The indirect effect of maternal depressive symptoms→adolescent ER→adolescent depressive symptoms→maternal ER was significant (ind. eff. = .10, 95% confidence interval [>.001, .19]) for girls, but not boys.

CONCLUSION: Implications for interrupting intergenerational cycles of depressive symptoms and emotion dysregulation are discussed.

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ePub ahead of print





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