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      Paternal and Maternal Variables Related to Depression in Childhood


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          Several studies have highlighted the relationship between parenting styles and depression in children. The aim of this study is to ascertain whether there are differences in the parenting practices received by two groups of children who obtain low-risk and high-risk scores respectively in relation to depression and determine which parenting variables are linked with the presence or absence of this kind of internalizing problem. From a sample of 550 subjects, obtained by probabilistic cluster sampling, we selected 140 children between 3 and 12 years of age who met a set of specific criteria as having high risk scores (70 children) for depression according to the Behavior Assessment System for Children (BASC) or having low scores in this variable (70 children). Then, the Parent–Child Relationship Inventory (PCRI) was applied to both parents. We carried out a binomial logistic regression analysis which resulted in a prediction model for 89.3% of the sample, based on the following parenting variables: limit setting and involvement from the mothers, and parental support, autonomy, satisfaction with parenting, and communication from the fathers. Finally, the usefulness of our results to plan intervention strategies within families of children with depression is discussed.

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          Most cited references31

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          Annual research review: A meta-analysis of the worldwide prevalence of mental disorders in children and adolescents.

          The literature on the prevalence of mental disorders affecting children and adolescents has expanded significantly over the last three decades around the world. Despite the field having matured significantly, there has been no meta-analysis to calculate a worldwide-pooled prevalence and to empirically assess the sources of heterogeneity of estimates.
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            Development and natural history of mood disorders.

            To expand and accelerate research on mood disorders, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) developed a project to formulate a strategic research plan for mood disorder research. One of the areas selected for review concerns the development and natural history of these disorders. The NIMH convened a multidisciplinary Workgroup of scientists to review the field and the NIMH portfolio and to generate specific recommendations. To encourage a balanced and creative set of proposals, experts were included within and outside this area of research, as well as public stakeholders. The Workgroup identified the need for expanded knowledge of mood disorders in children and adolescents, noting important gaps in understanding the onset, course, and recurrence of early-onset unipolar and bipolar disorder. Recommendations included the need for a multidisciplinary research initiative on the pathogenesis of unipolar depression encompassing genetic and environmental risk and protective factors. Specifically, we encourage the NIMH to convene a panel of experts and advocates to review the findings concerning children at high risk for unipolar depression. Joint analyses of existing data sets should examine specific risk factors to refine models of pathogenesis in preparation for the next era of multidisciplinary research. Other priority areas include the need to assess the long-term impact of successful treatment of juvenile depression and known precursors of depression, in particular, childhood anxiety disorders. Expanded knowledge of pediatric-onset bipolar disorder was identified as a particularly pressing issue because of the severity of the disorder, the controversies surrounding its diagnosis and treatment, and the possibility that widespread use of psychotropic medications in vulnerable children may precipitate the condition. The Workgroup recommends that the NIMH establish a collaborative multisite multidisciplinary Network of Research Programs on Pediatric-Onset Bipolar Disorder to achieve a better understanding of its causes, course, treatment, and prevention. The NIMH should develop a capacity-building plan to ensure the availability of trained investigators in the child and adolescent field. Mood disorders are among the most prevalent, recurrent, and disabling of all illnesses. They are often disorders of early onset. Although the NIMH has made important strides in mood disorders research, more data, beginning with at-risk infants, children, and adolescents, are needed concerning the etiology and developmental course of these disorders. A diverse program of multidisciplinary research is recommended to reduce the burden on children and families affected with these conditions.
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              Does Father Know Best? A Formal Model of the Paternal Influence on Childhood Social Anxiety

              We explore paternal social anxiety as a specific risk factor for childhood social anxiety in a rational optimization model. In the course of human evolution, fathers specialized in external protection (e.g., confronting the external world) while mothers specialized in internal protection (e.g., providing comfort and food). Thus, children may instinctively be more influenced by the information signaled by paternal versus maternal behavior with respect to potential external threats. As a result, if fathers exhibit social anxiety, children interpret it as a strong negative signal about the external social world and rationally adjust their beliefs, thus becoming stressed. Under the assumption that paternal signals on social threats are more influential, a rational cognitive inference leads children of socially anxious fathers to develop social anxiety, unlike children of socially anxious mothers. We show in the model that mothers cannot easily compensate for anxious paternal behavior, but choose to increase maternal care to maintain the child’s wellbeing. We discuss research directions to test the proposed model as well as implications for the prevention and treatment of child social anxiety.

                Author and article information

                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
                31 December 2019
                January 2020
                : 17
                : 1
                : 275
                Department of Psychology. University of Córdoba, 14005 Córdoba, Spain; beatris.ay@ 123456hotmail.com (B.A.Y.); ed1hecaf@ 123456uco.es (J.H.C.); ed1piosm@ 123456uco.es (M.J.P.O.)
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: m02ratra@ 123456uco.es ; Tel.: +34-957-21-22-97
                Author information
                © 2019 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

                : 04 November 2019
                : 29 December 2019

                Public health
                depression,family relations,child rearing,parenting,logistic models
                Public health
                depression, family relations, child rearing, parenting, logistic models


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