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Parents' Stressful Life Events and Adolescent Depressed Mood

Xiaojia Ge, Rand D. Conger, Frederick O. Lorenz and Ronald L. Simons
Journal of Health and Social Behavior
Vol. 35, No. 1 (Mar., 1994), pp. 28-44
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2137333
Page Count: 17
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Parents' Stressful Life Events and Adolescent Depressed Mood
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Abstract

The present study of 451 families living in the rural Midwest examines a mediational model of the relationship between the stressful life events experienced by parents and adolescent depressed mood. This model is intended to overcome two limitations in previous research on the relationship between parents' stressful events and adolescent depressed mood by 1) examining a mediating process involving parental mood and parenting behavior, and 2) using multiple informants to assess the theoretical constructs. Findings from the present study indicate that stressful life events experienced by parents are first related to parents' depressed mood which operates to disrupt skillful parenting practices. The disrupted parenting practices in turn place adolescents at increased risk for developing depressive symptoms. The results show that inclusion of these mediating processes represents a significant improvement over the bivariate model and that the hypothesized mediational model generalizes to four parent-adolescent dyads: fathers and sons, fathers and daughters, mothers and sons, and mothers and daughters. Moreover, parents' stressful life events are related directly to adolescent boys' depressed mood only when parents' reports are included in both theoretical constructs. When parents' reports are removed as an indicator for the adolescent depressed mood construct, the effects of parental stress on adolescent depressed mood are largely accounted for by stress-related parental depressed mood and harsh/inconsistent parenting.

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