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Depression May Influence Interaction with Children

mom childRaising children is a challenging task regardless of the surroundings. The duty expands when a child is ill, the family has little money and the mother is depressed.

A new study elaborates on these issues finding that depressed caregivers appear to interact with children in a negative manner.

The investigation reviewed the family dynamics for a group of low-income children with persistent asthma. Caregivers who displayed moderate to severe depressive symptoms showed greater hostility and less warmth when interacting with the children.

The study is reported in the journal Family Process.

Researchers led by Marianne Celano, PhD, of Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, utilized data from Project STAR (Support for Treatment of Asthma Research), a longitudinal study examining treatment adherence among low-income children with asthma.

The investigation included data from 100 low-income families whose children were prescribed medicine for asthma. Family members were videotaped in the clinic while completing structured tasks and caregivers were later rated on warmth, hostility, and disciplinary skill. Researchers rated each task separately.

Caregivers with higher levels of depressive symptoms exhibited lower levels of warmth and higher levels of hostility during both loss and conflict tasks.

In the loss task, the child was asked to share with family members his/her experience of a previously identified sad event, such as a death or a injury. In the conflict task, parent and child were asked to resolve a disagreement previously identified by each of them in separate interviews, such as a disagreement about chores, sibling conflict, or privileges.

As expected, caregivers tended to show more hostility and less warmth during the conflict task than during the preceding loss task. However, caregivers with moderate/severe depressive symptoms showed a greater rise in hostility from the loss to the conflict task than caregivers with minimal/mild depressive symptoms.

By including a task designed to elicit warmth, the study allowed for a more valid exploration of how caregivers respond to children’s need for support and nurturance, expanding upon traditional procedures for collecting observational data. The study provides a better test of models for understanding how parenting behaviors associated with caregiver depression may lead to child maladjustment.

“The present findings provide an initial step in a pre-intervention research program investigating the contribution of caregiver depressive symptoms and associated parenting styles,” the authors conclude. “Our data may aid mental health clinicians in identifying specific family interaction patterns which may promote optimal asthma management.”

Source: Blackwell Publishing

Depression May Influence Interaction with Children

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Depression May Influence Interaction with Children. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 22, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2008/03/20/depression-may-influence-interaction-with-children/2058.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.