The role of parental aggravation in the intergenerational transmission of depression across different family structures

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This study examined the role of parental aggravation in the pathway from maternal depression to child depression in different family structures. While studies have extensively examined the transmission of maternal depressive symptoms to children, there is still a limited emphasis on potential contributors, such as parental aggravation. Meanwhile, cohabiting and single-parent families are more vulnerable to multiple risk factors than married families. Using a large national longitudinal dataset, this study examined the indirect effect of parental aggravation on the association between maternal depression and child depression among married, cohabiting and single-mother families. Secondary data analysis was performed using multigroup mediation analysis on three waves from the Future of Families and Child Wellbeing Studies (nā€‰=ā€‰3ā€‰117). The study results show that only in cohabiting households did maternal depression have a direct association with child depression. Furthermore, in married, cohabiting and single-mother families, parental aggravation had indirect effects on the association between maternal depression and child depression. Implications for social work professionals to address the mental health of parents and children from non-traditional families are discussed.

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In Press
Child and Family Social Work