Child adjustment difficulties and maternal depressive symptoms, the father's role
MacMartin, Lisa M.
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Child behaviour problems of both an internalizing and externalizing nature have been implicated in studies of the effects of maternal depressive symptoms. However, since many children of mothers with depressive symptoms do not develop such problems, the purpose of this study was to examine the role that fathers may play in preventing the development of behaviour problems when mothers have depressive symptoms. The moderating effect of fathers' parenting style on the relation between maternal depressive symptoms and child behaviour problems was assessed. The study was done with a sample of 3-year-old girls from two-parent families. Results showed that there were differential relations between adjustment difficulties and depressive symptoms in mothers and fathers. Internalizing behaviours were related to depressive symptoms in mothers, but not fathers. Externalizing behaviours were related to depressive symptoms in fathers, but not mothers. While there was a strong relation between fathers' parenting style andchild adjustment difficulties, fathers' parenting did not moderate the relation between maternal depressive symptoms and child behaviour problems. The study provides evidence indicating the importance of the father's role in child development.