Maternal Depression and Child Maladjustment: The Role of Parental Style

by McBride, Mallory Casey

Abstract (Summary)
Parental practices are perhaps the most important aspect of a childs development. Diana Baumrind was one of the first to attempt to conceptualize parenting and she identified four distinct categories of parental style. Building upon Baumrinds work, Ellen Skinner has further refined the concept of parenting and identified six dimensions of parenting: warmth, structure, autonomy support, rejection, chaos, and coercion. Prior research supports a link between undesirable parental practices and maternal depression and both of these constructs have been shown to contribute to child maladjustment. The present study sought to further examine the relationship between maternal depression, parental style, and child maladjustment. It was hypothesized that two dimensions of parenting based on the Skinner model, Positive Parenting and Negative Parenting, would either mediate or moderate the relationship between maternal depression and child maladjustment. All six dimensions of parenting proposed by Skinner were significantly related to child maladjustment. Although a mediating or moderating relationship of the Positive Parenting Dimension was not found to be significant, Negative Parenting was found to have a mediating effect. Additionally, a significant moderating effect of one of the individual parenting dimensions proposed by Skinner (Warmth) was found. Furthermore, when child maladjustment was divided into Externalizing, Internalizing, and Mixed patterns of behavior, Negative Parenting was found to mediate the relationship between maternal depression and Externalizing behavior, the individual parenting dimension of Warmth was found to moderate the relationship for Internalizing behavior, and the individual parenting dimension of Chaos was found to mediate the relationships for Externalizing and Mixed behaviors. The analyses also indicate that a model consisting of maternal depression and Negative Parenting as well as a model consisting of maternal depression and Positive Parenting explain more variance in child maladjustment than either predictor alone.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Paul Silverman, PhD; Alan Sillars, PhD; Christine Fiore, PhD

School:The University of Montana

School Location:USA - Montana

Source Type:Master's Thesis



Date of Publication:01/15/2009

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