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Maternal depression and child psychopathology: a meta-analytic review.

Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review

Young Adult, Adolescent, Psychology, Child, psychology, Mothers, Mother-Child Relations, Male, Humans, Female, Depressive Disorder, Child of Impaired Parents, Child Development, Child Behavior, Child, Age Factors, Affect

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      Abstract

      Although the association between maternal depression and adverse child outcomes is well established, the strength of the association, the breadth or specificity of the outcomes, and the role of moderators are not known. This information is essential to inform not only models of risk but also the design of preventive interventions by helping to identify subgroups at greater risk than others and to elucidate potential mechanisms as targets of interventions. A meta-analysis of 193 studies was conducted to examine the strength of the association between mothers' depression and children's behavioral problems or emotional functioning. Maternal depression was significantly related to higher levels of internalizing, externalizing, and general psychopathology and negative affect/behavior and to lower levels of positive affect/behavior, with all associations small in magnitude. These associations were significantly moderated by theoretically and methodologically relevant variables, with patterns of moderation found to vary somewhat with each child outcome. Results are interpreted in terms of implications for theoretical models that move beyond main effects models in order to more accurately identify which children of depressed mothers are more or less at risk for specific outcomes.

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      Journal
      10.1007/s10567-010-0080-1
      21052833
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